Michael Avenatti resumes cross-examination of Stormy Daniels in his fraud trial

Avenatti denies stealing a $300,000 book advance from Daniels

January 28, 2022, 11:47 AM

Michael Avenatti will resume cross-examination of his former client, Stormy Daniels, on Friday in Manhattan federal court, where the one-time adult film actress said her former lawyer “stole from me and lied to me.”

Avenatti, who is representing himself against charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, has denied stealing $300,000 in a book advance meant for Daniels.

Under direct examination Thursday, Daniels said Avenatti agreed to be her attorney for $100 and the rest would come from a crowd-sourced legal defense fund and “winnings against Donald Trump,” a reference to the since-dismissed lawsuit she filed to extract herself from a nondisclosure agreement.

PHOTO: Michael Avenatti arrives at a federal court in Manhattan for his criminal trial on Jan. 27, 2022 in New York. Avenatti is accused of stealing money from his former client, adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
Michael Avenatti arrives at a federal court in Manhattan for his criminal trial on Jan. 27, 2022 in New York. Avenatti is accused of stealing money from his former client, adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Asked whether she and Avenatti ever agreed that he would take a cut of her book proceeds, Daniels said, “No.”

“He told me not to worry about it, that he would never take a penny from me for the book, that I earned it and I worked for it,” she said.

Daniels was to be paid a total of $800,000 in four installments for writing “Full Disclosure,” which included details about her alleged affair with Donald Trump, which the former president has denied. Avenatti is accused of diverting two of those payments into an account he controlled and then lying to Daniels about it for months.

When cross-examination began and Avenatti asked Daniels whether she had any documents to show that he agreed not to take money from her book deal, she claimed to not have any.

PHOTO: Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks to media along with lawyer Michael Avenatti outside federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, April 16, 2018.
Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks to media along with lawyer Michael Avenatti outside federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, April 16, 2018.
Lucas Jackson/Reuters, FILE

Avenatti also questioned Daniels about her latest venture, a television show, “Spooky Babes,” about paranormal activity.

“You have also claimed that you have the ability to speak with a haunted doll named Susan, who you speak to and she speaks back to you, isn't that true?” Avenatti asked.

“Susan speaks to everyone on the show; she is a character on Spooky Babes,” Daniels replied.

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