by Kevin Daley
Attorneys representing embattled Trump fixer Michael Cohen asked a federal court in New York to deny Michael Avenatti’s request to appear and represent Stormy Daniels in an ongoing dispute over the April 9 search of Cohen’s office.
Avenatti, who is not licensed to practice law in New York, is seeking the court’s permission to appear on Daniels’ behalf in the Cohen case. Cohen lawyers argued Friday the request should be denied.
“The ongoing inaccurate statements started the very day Mr. Avenatti announced at a press conference his representation of Ms. Clifford,” the filing reads. “Since then, he has made numerous claims against Mr. Cohen that lack accuracy and factual support. Mr. Avenatti appears to be primarily focused on smearing Mr. Cohen publicly in his efforts to further his own interest in garnering as much media attention as possible.”
Rule 3.6 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct provides that attorneys should not make out of court statements which could prejudice a pending matter. Cohen’s lawyers say Avenatti has violated the rule by disseminating false information he may have obtained unlawfully about Cohen’s finances. Avenatti released intimate details of Cohen’s personal financial history early in May, though the data he disclosed compromised other individuals of the same name not related to the investigation.
The source of the breach has not yet been identified. The filing, citing Ronan Farrow’s May 16 piece in the New Yorker, notes the law enforcement official allegedly responsible for the leak is “terrified” of legal consequences.
The filing also notes that Avenatti failed to disclose the fact that he is currently the subject of a bar complaint in California. Local rules require that any out-of-state lawyers disclose ongoing disciplinary proceedings when moving to appear. In a response filed just minutes later, Avenatti said he was not obligated to disclose the investigation since no final determination had been rendered.
Fox News first reported the existence of the bar investigation.
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