CYBERSPACE—Two days after into the middle of the Donald Trump Russia collusion case, tying it to his own Stormy Daniels case, attorney Michael Avenatti posted another previously secret document—this one linking Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen directly to Keith Davidson, the Los Angeles lawyer who arranged “hush money” payoffs to three women, including Daniels, who say they had sex with Trump, or with a close Trump associate.
Avenatti posted what he says is an email from Cohen to Davidson. The text of the email reproduced by Avenatti and dated April 11—two days after the April 9 raids on Cohen—reads: “I lost all my contacts as I had to get a new phone. Please send me all your contact info. Also, why did Anthony back out on ABC to do the story? Let me know how you want to communicate.”
The email is signed with Cohen’s electronic signature, which identifies him as “Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump.” Trump’s newest attorney, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, “of course” Cohen is no longer Trump’s attorney, but the email appears to show that as of April 11, he was.
Avenatti newspaper that he obtained the email directly from Davidson after “I demanded it.”
Why is the email significant, beyond showing that Cohen was calling himself Trump’s lawyer less than one month ago? According to Avenatti, the communication could indicate that Cohen was attempting to obstruct justice—though Avenatti was not specific as to how the communication from Cohen to Davidson would constitute obstruction.
“On April 9, the FBI raided Mr. Cohen’s home, office and hotel room,” Avenatti account Thursday morning. “Within 48 hours, Mr. Cohen sent the below email to Mr. Davidson. Why? They had no ongoing legal matter at the time. Was it part of an attempt by Mr. Cohen to obstruct justice or worse?”
Daniels is suing to get out of her “hush” agreement, for which Cohen paid her $130,000, designed to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Davidson negotiated the deal with Cohen while representing Daniels. But Avenatti says that Davidson was not properly representing Daniels’ interests because he had a close relationship with Cohen, and their negotiations amounted to collusion.
“This is supposed to be an adversarial process,” Avenatti . “These guys should not be in the same bedroom, let alone the same bed.”
Davidson has denied that his dealings with Cohen were improper. But he also represented Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal who recently settled a lawsuit over her own “hush money” payoff over her alleged affair with Trump. Davidson also negotiated a $1.6 million payoff to another Playboy centerfold model, Shera Bechard, who had an affair with top Trump fundraiser and close friend Eliot Broidy.
Cohen represented Trump or Broidy’s side in all three payoff deals. According to a recent New York Magazine article, the Bechard payoff may not have actually been to protect Broidy—who confessed to the affair—but in fact was intended to shield Trump himself, for whom Broidy was acting as a front. But the allegation that it was Trump, not Broidy, who conducted the affair with Bechard that resulted in her pregnancy, remains speculative.
In his bombshell earlier this week, Avenatti posted financial records showing that Cohen received millions of dollars in payments from several large corporations, including $500,000 from a company linked to a Russian oligarch, and that cash could have been used to reimburse Cohen for the $130,000 paid to Daniels.
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