Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday to discuss the payment his client received as part of a non-disclosure agreement to remain silent regarding an alleged affair she had with Donald Trump in 2006. Avenatti said he is positive that when Trump attorney Michael Cohen arranged the payment of $130,000 for Daniels to keep quiet, he did so with Trump’s knowledge, and at Trump’s direction.
When asked if he had any doubt as to whether Trump himself directed the payment, Avenatti said, “None.”
He backed it up by saying he’s basing this belief on more than just a “hunch.”
Cohen has claimed that he made the payment of his own accord and with no reimbursement. Avenatti said that the idea that an attorney would make such a payment on behalf of a client without even consulting the client was “ludicrous, preposterous, ridiculous, without any basis in fact, it’s unheard of, and … it’s nonsense.”
Whether or not Trump was involved with or knew about the payment at the time has been the subject of serious debate, as well as the crux of a complaint that was filed against Cohen and the Trump campaign for an alleged illegal campaign donation. The complaint alleged that because the payment was made to benefit Trump’s campaign, it should be considered a campaign contribution. If Trump knew about it at the time, his failure to report it would be a violation of federal election law.
Avenatti also said that Daniels was physically threatened, but refused to confirm or deny whether the threat came from Trump himself. An interview with Daniels is set to air on 60 Minutes on March 25, and the attorney said people would have to watch that interview for any further details.
The amount of the payment was also discussed, with Avenatti agreeing that $130,000 is a rather low number for this sort of agreement, and that once Daniels is able to speak, her story will shed light on why that number was reached.
Regarding the validity of Daniels’ claims, Avenatti said he is completely certain that his client is telling the truth.
“You would not take on a case like this unless there was proof that there was a sexual relationship between Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump, and that they tried to silence her about it,” host Mika Brzezinski asked.
“Correct,” Avenatti said.
Avenatti also recently confirmed that he spoke with six other women with similar allegations involving the president, but so far he has not vetted their stories.