Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels's lawyer and Donald Trump's potential 2020 opponent, was unexpectedly on the pink carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards Monday in New York City. And while he was surrounded by pop stars, Avenatti poked fun at the "recording artists" in Trump's own administration.
"It sounds like there are a lot of tapes," he told Esquire.com before the awards show started. "It sounds like Omarosa and Michael Cohen are competing for recording artist of the year."
On Thursday, The New York Times reported Omarosa Manigault Newman may have up to 200 tapes she secretly recorded during her time at the White House. That report came after she made public claims about a possible recording of the president using the "N-word."
And in July, it was revealed that Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, made secret recordings of Trump discussing a possible payment to silence ex-Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal about an alleged affair with the president. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s current personal lawyer, has denied that the payments were ever made.
Politics is not the most common topic of conversation at the VMAs. But then again, Avenatti is not your typical VMA guest. When a Variety reporter wondered what the heck he was doing there, the attorney responded, "I was invited to this great event. It's a pretty cool event. I thought I'd show up."
As musicians and social-media influencers posed for cameras behind him, Avenatti discussed what could happen next in Cohen's case. "I think it's only a matter of time before [Cohen is] indicted and he faces significant criminal liability, so it's going to be very interesting to see how this thing plays out," he says of Cohen's ongoing bank fraud investigation, in which investigators are also looking to see if the violated campaign finance laws. "I predicted a while ago that ultimately he'd flip on the president, and I think that's going to be true."
Cohen, Trump's former attorney, reportedly made a $130,000 payment days before the 2016 election as part of an agreement with Avenatti's client, adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Avenatti has represented Daniels in her case against Trump, in which she claimed she was paid to keep quiet about an alleged affair in 2006.
Daniels pulled out of the U.K.'s Celebrity Big Brother at the last minute on Thursday, and Avenatti argues "things didn't go as planned" because the show wanted to portray her in an inaccurate light. "It turned out that it wasn't that 'reality' when she ultimately got out there, because they weren't prepared to allow her to be who she really is," he says. According to the BBC, Celebrity Big Brother broadcaster Channel 5 denied any allegations about producers trying to "control" Daniels.
Some people might question why Daniels would sign up for a reality show in the first place. According to The Guardian, skeptics like Meghan McCain have accused her of just trying to “get attention” and said that her allegations were a “publicity stunt," which Daniels has denied.
"I think she's proven herself over the last six months with what she's had to tolerate and what she's had to put up with, frankly, that she's not in this for the money," Avenatti says. "I think she's conducted herself with a lot of class and fortitude along the way."
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