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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.

Confirmed Cases: 90017

Reported Deaths: 2017
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin25857922
Ramsey10492318
Dakota7125125
Anoka5753132
Stearns377023
Washington357355
Scott242633
Olmsted228727
Nobles193116
Blue Earth15986
Wright15337
St. Louis135234
Carver13517
Rice13018
Mower12864
Clay126140
Sherburne109314
Kandiyohi9312
Winona85018
Lyon6464
Waseca5328
Steele5212
Freeborn5163
Benton5113
Watonwan5054
Nicollet49916
Todd4792
McLeod4462
Chisago4441
Le Sueur4444
Crow Wing43318
Otter Tail3924
Beltrami3764
Goodhue3309
Martin3199
Pine2810
Itasca27713
Polk2734
Isanti2580
Douglas2491
Becker2442
Carlton2391
Cottonwood2190
Pipestone2129
Unassigned20952
Morrison2031
Dodge1990
Chippewa1921
Sibley1793
Meeker1772
Wabasha1740
Brown1732
Yellow Medicine1582
Murray1542
Rock1520
Mille Lacs1453
Redwood1400
Jackson1331
Faribault1320
Renville1286
Cass1253
Roseau1160
Swift1141
Pennington1121
Houston1100
Fillmore1080
Kanabec1058
Koochiching1053
Lincoln1020
Stevens931
Pope880
Hubbard820
Aitkin711
Big Stone680
Wadena650
Grant584
Wilkin553
Lake530
Norman510
Marshall491
Lac qui Parle460
Mahnomen451
Red Lake390
Traverse300
Clearwater260
Lake of the Woods201
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 80106

Reported Deaths: 1256
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15318256
Johnson499527
Woodbury498961
Black Hawk434986
Linn3783106
Story328617
Dubuque279840
Scott279727
Dallas269038
Pottawattamie200037
Buena Vista194712
Marshall176134
Sioux13503
Wapello126757
Webster119314
Clinton107018
Muscatine106452
Plymouth105220
Crawford10014
Cerro Gordo99621
Warren9286
Jasper76632
Des Moines7417
Marion7154
Tama69031
Carroll6345
Henry6074
Lee5967
Wright5621
Dickinson4856
Boone4677
Bremer4627
Washington43111
Louisa42515
Mahaska34019
Franklin33617
Delaware3353
Hamilton3143
Jackson3003
Floyd2983
Winneshiek2985
Clay2923
Benton2861
Hardin2761
Winnebago27111
Butler2592
Clarke2553
Emmet25210
Poweshiek2498
Lyon2483
Allamakee2455
Jones2443
Buchanan2421
Shelby2421
Clayton2323
Guthrie2235
Cedar2211
Chickasaw2210
Kossuth2190
Sac2140
Grundy2052
Madison2052
Cherokee1942
Fayette1911
Iowa1851
Mitchell1830
Howard1825
Harrison1782
Humboldt1733
Hancock1722
Calhoun1702
Mills1681
Palo Alto1600
Pocahontas1522
Monroe14810
Lucas1426
Page1420
Monona1381
Jefferson1341
Cass1332
Osceola1260
Appanoose1233
Taylor1231
Union1223
Davis1144
Van Buren1101
Worth1020
Ida970
Keokuk911
Fremont870
Greene870
Montgomery865
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