Cohen's lawyers confirm client recorded conversations

CNN's Brynn Gingras reports.

Posted: May 31, 2018 10:19 AM
Updated: May 31, 2018 10:19 AM

Michael Avenatti, the relentlessly media-savvy attorney for the pornographic film director and actress Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels), wasn't his usual ebullient self Wednesday morning at Manhattan's Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse.

Representing Clifford as an "interested party" in the federal matter pertaining to the search warrants executed in April on the home, office and hotel room of Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, Avenatti couldn't find a seat at the table -- literally or figuratively.

Lawyers for the other represented parties (Cohen, President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization) wouldn't make room for Avenatti at counsel's table, and so Avenatti made due by pulling up a chair at the end of the back table, cater-corner to Ellen Beth Resnick, a lawyer for the Trump Organization.

He also didn't have a microphone, so he had to get up and walk across the courtroom to stand at the podium any time he wanted to address Judge Kimba M. Wood, the federal district court judge presiding over the matter.

Avenatti's purported objective has been to represent Clifford as a formal, intervening party in Cohen's case, the entirety of which has very little to do with his client.

Avenatti has been adamant in court filings that his fight to represent Clifford, and thus to be admitted to practice law in the Southern District of New York on a pro hac vice basis ("for this occasion only"), stems from his duty to protect her interests in any records -- including any audio recordings between Cohen and Clifford's former attorney Keith Davidson -- that may have been swept up in the FBI raids of Cohen's premises.

On Twitter, Avenatti has dubbed these possible recordings the "#TrumpTapes," although there was absolutely no indication made by any party at the hearing that Trump was -- or was even possibly -- on those recordings.

Unfortunately for Clifford, this may be where Avenatti's winning streak comes to an end.

Until this point, Avenatti has been pursuing a dual pronged approach: duking out multiple legal issues, both in the various legal courts in which he has filed cases (or in this instance, in a case in which he would like to formally represent a party), and in the court of public opinion. He has been making multiple cable news appearances, sometimes several times a day on several different networks, arguing for his client. He even pressed his case in an appearance on Stephen Colbert's "The Late Show."

He is now at a crossroads, and he may have to forgo at least one courtroom battle. Wood was nonplussed by Avenatti's colorful and impassioned rhetoric, which included his assertion that he has been "an exemplary member of the bar for 18 years" with an "exceptional track record."

At the end of one of Avenatti's soliloquies, Wood noted that he has "no standing to make these points," and that "until you are admitted here, I don't expect you to stand and be heard." That's basically lawyer speak for "you have no right to be here."

In keeping with their stance in court filings, Cohen's attorney, Stephen Ryan, on Wednesday vehemently opposed Avenatti's request to join the case, citing Avenatti's release of confidential bank records to the media. "I've never seen an attorney conduct himself in the way he has," Ryan said, and called Avenatti's behavior reckless.

Matching Avenatti's flare for the dramatic, Ryan noted that he's never opposed a motion of this nature in his 37 years of practice, but he did so on Wednesday because of Avenatti's "intentional, malicious, and prejudicial release of information" which amounted to a "drive-by shooting" of his client.

Taking these and other matters into consideration, Wood calmly warned Avenatti that if he were to be admitted in this matter, "You'd have to stop doing some of the things you've been doing." On the other hand, she noted, if he is not formally allowed to intervene in this case, she can't stop him from continuing his "publicity tour." It seems this warning struck a chord with Avenatti.

Immediately after the conference, Avenatti withdrew his pro hac vice motion, stating he would refile his application at a later date if necessary. After the conference, he proceeded directly to the microphone podium outside the courthouse to make a short statement, as has been his signature practice (none of the other attorneys stopped for comment), and to introduce his "Trump Tapes" designation for media consumption.

So, it seems Avenatti has chosen to continue his media blitz, rather than peruse an actual seat at the table before Wood; we will no doubt be hearing from Avenatti on a cable news broadcast imminently, but we won't be hearing from him again anytime soon in Wood's courtroom.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 490011

Reported Deaths: 6618
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1016821593
Ramsey43388811
Dakota36714394
Anoka33545392
Washington22247262
Stearns18847202
St. Louis14915265
Scott13445107
Wright12635116
Olmsted1187890
Sherburne879474
Carver790941
Clay696288
Rice678691
Blue Earth604435
Kandiyohi582274
Crow Wing523682
Chisago502945
Otter Tail487171
Benton451890
Winona419749
Mower411931
Douglas395068
Goodhue390169
Nobles387347
Polk345363
McLeod341950
Beltrami339151
Morrison328147
Itasca315346
Becker315143
Lyon314045
Isanti310056
Steele304311
Carlton300649
Freeborn287124
Pine283616
Nicollet263341
Todd250330
Brown249137
Le Sueur238620
Mille Lacs230047
Cass221424
Waseca211217
Meeker208534
Martin190829
Wabasha18733
Roseau181017
Hubbard161041
Houston158214
Dodge15464
Renville152940
Redwood147127
Fillmore14029
Pennington139816
Chippewa137035
Cottonwood136120
Wadena131520
Faribault125017
Aitkin119233
Sibley118310
Watonwan11838
Rock116314
Kanabec109120
Pipestone101924
Yellow Medicine97817
Murray9548
Jackson94710
Swift87818
Pope8185
Marshall78715
Stevens7478
Lake74318
Clearwater72014
Lac qui Parle68816
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62111
Big Stone5173
Lincoln5122
Grant4928
Norman4808
Unassigned45368
Mahnomen4437
Kittson41121
Red Lake3615
Traverse3115
Lake of the Woods2231
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 337836

Reported Deaths: 5500
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk52116562
Linn19519317
Scott17180213
Black Hawk14973294
Woodbury13858214
Johnson1317875
Dubuque12452196
Dallas1023593
Pottawattamie9899146
Story965445
Warren515176
Clinton502884
Cerro Gordo501483
Webster495888
Sioux480469
Marshall465473
Des Moines428661
Muscatine426493
Buena Vista413337
Wapello4059110
Jasper388167
Plymouth369178
Lee354653
Marion341772
Jones285355
Henry279837
Bremer270655
Carroll266848
Crawford253435
Boone244830
Benton241554
Washington239247
Mahaska215846
Jackson210339
Dickinson204340
Tama203165
Kossuth198655
Delaware186340
Clay184525
Winneshiek183729
Fayette179535
Page178119
Buchanan178029
Wright174531
Hamilton173942
Cedar172923
Hardin170339
Harrison167870
Clayton160154
Butler159331
Mills148520
Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee146336
Lyon145741
Allamakee144948
Madison143318
Iowa140723
Hancock138030
Grundy132530
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129711
Cass129751
Jefferson128534
Appanoose123447
Louisa122644
Mitchell120740
Chickasaw119915
Union119331
Sac118818
Shelby117634
Emmet115440
Humboldt113925
Franklin109719
Guthrie109728
Palo Alto101721
Howard99722
Unassigned9790
Montgomery97036
Clarke95220
Keokuk92429
Monroe90028
Ida82132
Adair81630
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Davis76623
Monona76527
Greene73110
Lucas72321
Osceola68315
Worth6678
Taylor64112
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Ringgold50720
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