Stormy Daniels took the witness stand Thursday at Michael Avenatti’s trial, telling a jury she was “very, very offended” and felt “betrayed and silly” when she was advised that the California lawyer she had teamed up with in opposition to former U.S. president Donald Trump had stolen from her.
Her testimony, which lasted over three hours and can proceed Friday, was a extremely anticipated second on the trial of a person who parlayed his illustration of Daniels in her authorized battles in opposition to the president in 2018 right into a high-profile function as a Trump adversary.
Prosecutors say he cheated the entertainer and grownup movie actress of almost $300,000 US of her $800,000 writer’s advance on her 2018 autobiography, Full Disclosure.
Daniels answered a prosecutor’s questions till the ultimate jiffy of the day, when the showdown with Avenatti grew to become a direct confrontation after Avenatti started representing himself on the trial’s second day.
It started cordially, with Avenatti addressing her with: “Ms. Daniels, good afternoon.”
“Good afternoon,” Daniels responded.
Avenatti requested her how he was anticipated to be paid for all of the work he did for her since their contract solely referred to as for her to pay him $100 US.
She responded that he was anticipated to attract cash from a crowd-funding web site that raised $650,000 US for her authorized bills together with a share of any proceeds he obtained in lawsuits in opposition to Trump.
“Another manner?” Avenatti requested.
“Not that we agreed upon,” Daniels answered.
Offended, shocked, betrayed
Earlier than lengthy, Avenatti was asking her extra private questions, together with whether or not she has mentioned she has the flexibility to talk to lifeless individuals.
“Sure, I’ve mentioned that,” she mentioned.
Assistant U.S. Lawyer Robert Sobelman confined most of his questions earlier to the breakdown that occurred within the Avenatti-Daniels relationship between the summer season of 2019 and the next February.
When Daniels was requested her response upon studying in February 2019 that funds from her writer that had been made months earlier had by no means been handed alongside to her, she mentioned she was “very, very offended. Shocked. Disbelief. Damage, and I felt very betrayed and silly.”
Avenatti has insisted he’s harmless. A lawyer for Avenatti mentioned on the trial’s begin on Monday that Daniels owed him a portion of her ebook revenue for his work for her after she had solely been charged $100 for his illustration.
Daniels started her testimony late within the morning after she was summoned to the witness stand, which was enclosed in a see-through plastic field with a particular air filter in order that she may take away her masks.
“The federal government calls Stephanie Clifford, also called Stormy Daniels,” Sobelman mentioned earlier than she entered the specifically configured courtroom to stop in opposition to the unfold of the coronavirus.
The prosecutor requested Daniels to determine Avenatti within the courtroom, prompting Avenatti to face.
“He is the gentleman standing up within the blue shirt,” she mentioned.
Amongst Sobelman’s first questions was to request if Daniels most well-liked to make use of some other identify.
“Stormy Daniels,” she mentioned, explaining that was her stage identify.
After Sobelman requested her about Avenatti’s illustration of her in 2018, he requested her why the attorney-client relationship ended and she or he employed one other lawyer.
“I employed a brand new legal professional as a result of he stole from me and lied to me,” she mentioned.
Daniels mentioned she had employed Avenatti in early 2018 to symbolize her in her claims in opposition to Trump. Daniels sought authorized illustration as a result of she wished to talk publicly about her claims that she had a sexual tryst with Trump over a decade earlier. She had been paid $130,000 US days earlier than the 2016 presidential election to stay silent. Trump has denied the claims.
She mentioned that for the reason that formal settlement referred to as for her to pay Avenatti $100 US, she gave it to him in money at a restaurant in Los Angeles, and he used it to pay for lunch.
Sobelman requested her if she had ever agreed with Avenatti to pay him greater than the $100.
“No,” she testified.
Daniels was proven lots of her textual content communications with Avenatti between July 2018 and February 2018 as she grew to become more and more annoyed and offended that she had not been paid as Avenatti continued responsible the writer.
She threatened to go public in opposition to the writer a number of instances, however a letter from her agent’s workplace confirmed her in mid-February 2019 that the funds she had not seen had been acquired by Avenatti as a lot as six months earlier into an account she didn’t acknowledge and had not approved.
Sobelman requested her what her response to the revelations had been.
“I do not know if there’s a phrase stronger than livid,” she mentioned, “and shocked.”
Daniels mentioned she has had no communications with Avenatti since February 2019.
Avenatti, 50, has pleaded not responsible to wire fraud and aggravated determine theft. The trial was in its fourth day of testimony.