Since his client, the former adult-film actress known as Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford), became a media fixation late last year, Los Angeles Lawyer Michael Avenatti has made dozens of appearances on late-night shows and cable news to attack the Trump administration and plead his client's case. In that time, he's amassed more than 500,000 twitter followers, and even created his own trending hashtag (#Basta).
Now, Trump attorney Michael Cohen - who is named in Daniels' suit, alongside President Trump - is asking a federal court in California to issue a restraining order against Avenatti to stop him from speaking publicly about the lawsuit that he filed in March on behalf of Daniels, as Cohen's team worries about the impact that all of this publicity might have on Cohen's case, Reuters reported.
"As this Court has probably already surmised, Mr. Avenatti’s actions are mainly driven by his seemingly unquenchable thirst for publicity," the motion said.
Avenatti, who has been struggling recently with some negative publicity of his own, fired back at Cohen, calling the gag order "a complete joke and baseless."
We just learned that Mr. Cohen and his atty, Brent Blakely, are going to file a motion seeking to have the court issue a gag order preventing me & others from providing info & docs to the media and the public. They want it all hidden. Is this ok? Will the media permit it? #Basta— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) June 15, 2018
The motion for a gag order is a complete joke and baseless. Mr. Cohen and Brent Blakely can’t deal with the truth, the facts, and the law, so they have to resort to unethical, meritless motions. This must be their birthday present to Mr. Trump. #Basta— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) June 15, 2018
Daniels is suing to be released from an NDA meant to stop her from speaking about her alleged affair with President Trump - which reportedly took place more than a decade ago - on the grounds that Trump never signed the agreement. The former adult-film actress has also said she would be willing to return the $130,000 in "hush money" she received from Cohen, allegedly as compensation for signing the agreement.
According to Politico, Avenatti has made 121 TV appearances to discuss "facts and circumstances" pertaining to his case, and has tweeted about it more than 400 times. Cohen is also accusing Avenatti of violating California's Rules of Professional Conduct by "routinely denigrating" Cohen. These attacks by Avenatti are "likely to result in Cohen being deprived of his right to a fair trial, and threatens to turn what should be a solemn Federal Court proceeding into a media circus," according to the motion.
As evidence to support his request, Cohen attorney Brent Blakely pointed out that a federal judge in New York warned Avenatti that he must stop making public statements if he wanted to join in litigation involving records of Cohen's that were seized by the FBI. Instead of complying, Avenatti dropped his request to enter the case. Blakey's gag order also stipulates that Trump's attorney, Charles Harder, has said the president "will not oppose" the issuance of the gag order. No immediate hearing has been set to rule on Blakely's request.
Read Blakely's full application below: