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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: 304023

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin641421113
Ramsey27059502
Anoka21526225
Dakota21268190
Washington13529113
Stearns13524108
St. Louis8433108
Scott820154
Wright746139
Olmsted653534
Sherburne570941
Clay483956
Carver455913
Blue Earth405214
Rice403136
Kandiyohi396821
Crow Wing353431
Nobles304929
Chisago304410
Otter Tail300522
Benton293348
Winona273730
Mower257423
Douglas250735
Polk248923
Morrison228029
Lyon213411
Beltrami211917
McLeod205011
Becker199815
Goodhue196728
Steele19137
Itasca185523
Isanti184917
Todd178413
Carlton177715
Nicollet158725
Freeborn15125
Mille Lacs149931
Le Sueur144911
Cass138610
Waseca137811
Brown136415
Pine13138
Meeker12398
Roseau11454
Hubbard111924
Martin111220
Wabasha10301
Redwood91619
Chippewa8527
Dodge8380
Cottonwood8333
Watonwan8334
Renville83124
Wadena7736
Sibley7724
Rock7569
Aitkin75529
Pipestone71018
Houston6854
Fillmore6770
Yellow Medicine63311
Pennington6277
Kanabec59613
Murray5783
Swift5758
Faribault5422
Pope5281
Stevens5063
Clearwater5058
Jackson4841
Marshall4758
Lake4066
Koochiching3855
Wilkin3715
Unassigned36759
Lac qui Parle3613
Lincoln3511
Norman3417
Big Stone3072
Mahnomen2904
Grant2726
Kittson2138
Red Lake2053
Traverse1461
Lake of the Woods951
Cook660

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 225897

Reported Deaths: 2345
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33451334
Linn14206164
Scott1116385
Black Hawk10849134
Woodbury10323124
Johnson948636
Dubuque918291
Story677621
Dallas633657
Pottawattamie624570
Sioux369125
Webster357833
Cerro Gordo351544
Marshall347846
Clinton327540
Buena Vista304114
Des Moines287920
Muscatine286468
Warren279611
Plymouth274242
Wapello255071
Jones229813
Jasper217443
Marion204320
Lee202217
Carroll197322
Bremer194212
Henry18227
Crawford174316
Benton169519
Tama153840
Jackson144313
Delaware143221
Washington140214
Dickinson138210
Boone136311
Mahaska126727
Wright12336
Clay11714
Buchanan116410
Hardin115010
Page11294
Clayton11105
Hamilton11059
Cedar107413
Harrison106729
Calhoun10617
Kossuth10566
Floyd104116
Mills10407
Fayette103310
Lyon10268
Butler10116
Poweshiek98913
Winneshiek96212
Iowa94612
Winnebago91723
Hancock8607
Louisa85816
Sac8578
Grundy85611
Chickasaw8494
Cherokee8374
Cass80823
Allamakee79911
Mitchell7884
Appanoose78710
Humboldt7695
Union7676
Shelby76211
Emmet76024
Guthrie75215
Franklin73521
Jefferson7112
Madison6804
Unassigned6620
Palo Alto6514
Keokuk5967
Pocahontas5574
Howard5529
Greene5220
Osceola5211
Ida48713
Clarke4824
Taylor4643
Montgomery46211
Davis4619
Monroe44312
Adair4408
Monona4332
Fremont3573
Van Buren3555
Worth3550
Lucas3236
Decatur3160
Wayne2987
Audubon2952
Ringgold2112
Adams1692
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