On Friday, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels teased what could be a headline-grabbing visit to a Manhattan courtroom by her next week. In short, if you've been wondering if Stormy Daniels will be at Michael Cohen's hearing on Monday, some of her lawyer Michael Avenatti's recent statements should give you some hope.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has been embroiled in litigation against Cohen for weeks, relating to a nondisclosure agreement he negotiated with her back in 2016, in the final weeks of the presidential election. The deal was reportedly to prevent her from speaking out publicly about an alleged sexual affair between herself and his client, President Donald Trump, back in 2006; she has since given details about the affair in an interview with 60 Minutes, and is suing Cohen for defamation.
Cohen, of course, is facing his own legal issues at the moment. On Monday, his offices were raided by federal agents, reportedly in connection with the ongoing investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. The Department of Justice has since said that Cohen has been "under criminal investigation" for months, and he's due in court on Monday for a hearing.
According to the Associated Press, Avenatti said on Friday that it's "very possible" that Daniels would show up for the hearing. And that very same day, he tweeted that "the weather forecast for Mon looks very Stormy."
The hearing will be presided over by Judge Kimba Wood, and Cohen is reportedly being called to answer questions about his business dealings. It figures to be the next step in a rapidly escalating story, and one that Trump himself is clearly paying attention to. After Cohen's office was raided earlier this week, Trump sent out a tweet proclaiming that "attorney-client privilege is dead!"
Daniels showing up for Cohen's hearing shouold surely attract media attention, and that's something both she and Avenatti have been quite successful at since she's gone public with her story. President Donald Trump has not directly spoken out on the legal wrangling or about Daniels, although White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said that Trump denies having had an affair with her.
Daniels reportedly received $130,000 from Cohen as part of the 2016 agreement; Cohen has insisted that he paid the money from his personal funds, and Trump has denied any knowledge that the payment was made. In her interview with 60 Minutes, Daniels also claimed that she was threatened by an unidentified man in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011, and was urged to "leave Trump alone."
"A guy walked up on me and said to me, 'Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,'" Daniels told Anderson Cooper. "And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter, and said, 'A beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom.' And then he was gone."
Avenatti has recently claimed that Cohen intends to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in order to secure a stay in the Daniels defamation case. Cohen's lawyer, however, has staunchly denied this ― Brent Blakely told The Daily Beast this week that Avenatti's statements about Cohen's legal strategy are "not accurate" and "reckless."
"The statements by Mr. Avenatti are not accurate and continue to be reckless—no decision has been made for Mr. Cohen to assert his Fifth Amendment rights. No questions have even been posed." According to Blakely, Cohen is seeking a stay in the civil defamation case being brought by Daniels, due to the fact that some of its issues "overlap" with the pending criminal investigation.
It remains to be seen whether Daniels actually shows up at Cohen's hearing, seeing as Avenatti has not stated in a 100 percent conclusive way that she'll be there. But this much is clear: if she does show up, it's going to draw a whole lot of attention.