Stormy Daniels’ lawyer considering US presidential run

Michael Avenatti (Bloomberg pic)

SAN FRANCISCO: Michael Avenatti – the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star better known as Stormy Daniels – told the Des Moines Register that he was “exploring a run for the presidency of the United States.”

The critic of US President Donald Trump and founding partner at the California law firm Eagan Avenatti LLP plans to address the Democratic Wing Ding fundraiser on Friday in Clear Lake, Iowa, the newspaper said. Past speakers have included former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders, and then-Senator Barack Obama, who headlined in 2007 ahead of his key victory in the early caucus state.

“I wanted to come to Iowa and listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework,” Avenatti told the Register in an interview Thursday. He also posed for selfies with fans at the Iowa State Fair, the paper said.

Avenatti has been representing Clifford in a lawsuit against Trump and his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, claiming she was coerced to sign a deal promising to stay quiet about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump. Clifford signed the non-disclosure agreement with Cohen in exchange for US$130,000 shortly before the 2016 election. After she sued to void the contract, she says Trump defamed her by calling her a liar.

The suit by Clifford helped trigger a criminal investigation into Cohen, who no longer represents Trump. The legal fight, in which Avenatti has adopted a combative social media and cable TV-focused approach, has made him one of the president’s high-profile critics.

Representative John Delaney, a Maryland Democrat, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang – who have already declared their candidacies – are also scheduled to appear at the fundraiser, according to the newspaper. Representative Tim Ryan, of Ohio, is another potential candidate who is scheduled to appear.