The lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels claimed on Sunday that he was aware of more potentially incriminating secret recordings between President Donald Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, suggested on ABC’s “This Week” that there was more than one taped conversation between the president and his former legal counsel. Last week, a report in the New York Times said Cohen had recorded at least one conversation that addressed the possibility of paying off a woman who alleged an affair with Trump before he was elected.
“I know the substance of some of the tapes,” Avenatti told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, which raised speculation that he could be coordinating with Cohen. The latter is being investigated as part of a wide-ranging probe into Trump’s ties with Russia.
There would appear to be no obvious reason why Avenatti would have access to Cohen’s recordings, unless both camps were somehow in communication with one another to represent the interests of their respective clients.
Yet in a statement, Brent Blakely — one of Cohen’s lawyers — insisted that there was no coordination between the two.
“Neither myself or Mr. Cohen have provided any information to Mr. Avenatti, are in any way cooperating with Mr. Avenatti, or have any interest whatsoever in cooperating with Mr. Avenatti to the detriment of President Donald Trump,” Blakely said in a statement released to NBC News. “Mr. Cohen’s legal matters will not be tried in the court of public opinion, but in a court of law.”
Cohen’s recording was uncovered amid a seizure of the New York attorney’s records. In the tape, Trump discusses the possibility of making a payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump that lasted nearly a year.
On Saturday, Trump blasted for secretly recording him, suggesting that doing so may have been illegal. Yet it was Trump’s own legal team that decided to release a tape of the two men discussing a possible payment to a Playboy model — which had been deemed “privileged” in a federal court, a source with knowledge told CNBC on Saturday.
This person said that Trump’s legal team waived the protection, which would have allowed the tape to remain hidden from prosecutors. Lawyers reached out to the judge presiding over court proceedings involving a raft of materials seized from Cohen during FBI raids in April, according to the source.
Doing so gave Trump’s current lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the ability to release “his version of the tape’s contents,” the source said.
“It is ironic that Trump would complain about a privileged tape that would not have been released and then chooses to make it public himself,” the source said. It was a “very foolish strategy by Team Trump,” he added.