- Drew Angerer/Getty Images
- Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing porn star Stormy Daniels, said he would consider representing Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney.
- Cohen is facing a federal criminal investigation on possible campaign-finance violations, bank fraud, and wire fraud.
- Daniels has sought to void a nondisclosure agreement on an alleged affair with Trump, and filed a defamation lawsuit against Cohen.
- Avenatti’s proposal lends itself to criticism from some legal malpractice attorneys who say it may pose “a huge conflict.”
Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing porn star Stormy Daniels, has said he would consider representing Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney.
Cohen, who is often referred to as Trump’s “fixer,” currently faces a federal criminal investigation on a multitude of finance violations.
“If he was prepared to do the right thing and come clean, and basically turn state’s evidence,” Avenatti told MSNBC host Ari Melber on Friday, “I would absolutely consider it, in an effort to disclose information and bring the truth to the American people.”
The two attorneys met by “sheer happenstance” at a restaurant in Manhattan on Monday, and “had a chance to converse,” according to Avenatti.
“We had a … very positive meeting,” he said. “I came away from that meeting very encouraged by ultimately how all of this may work out.”
Avenatti would not disclose whether he discussed the possibility of representing Cohen during the meeting.
“You can draw your own conclusions,” Avenatti said.
But that possible outcome has attracted criticism from some legal malpractice attorneys.
Avenatti’s client, Stormy Daniels, claims to have had a sexual affair with Trump in 2006 and was paid $130,000 to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Daniels has since sought to void the agreement and filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump and Cohen.
Representing both Daniels and Cohen may violate California’s rule of professional conduct and poses “a huge conflict” for Avenatti, who is accredited by the California State Bar, according to attorney Mark Wilson of California-based law firm Klein and Wilson.
“A lawyer cannot represent clients that are in conflict unless he gets a conflict waiver from them,” Wilson said to Business Insider. “He has to tell them the potential consequences down the road, and that they are in full understanding of what they are getting into.”
“It’s possible he could do it, Wilson added. “But it is, in my opinion, a hopeless conflict of interest, one that most lawyers would never do because you’re risking so much.”
Daniels’ previous statements against Cohen also suggests she is unlikely to sign a conflict waiver. In April, she described Cohen as someone who “played by … no rules at all” and “acted like he is above the law.”
Avenatti has made other explosive claims throughout his many TV appearances after taking on Daniels’ high profile case. The attorney suggested if he represented Cohen, it would send shockwaves to Trump.
“Oh I think it would send quite the message and I think it would advance the cause of the American people,” Avenatti said.
Watch MSNBC’s interview with Michael Avenatti:
Breaking: @MichaelAvenatti says if Michael Cohen "was prepared to do the right thing", I would "absolutely consider" representing him.
"Michael Cohen and I had a chance to converse" we had "a very positive meeting" pic.twitter.com/AGA0MTvgmq
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) July 20, 2018