Lawyers for Michael Cohen are asking a federal judge to deny Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, access to case materials in the Southern District of New York inquiry into Cohen, citing Avenatti’s “reckless conduct.”
“To our knowledge, this court has never been presented with clearer evidence of the deliberate creation of a carnival atmosphere and the knowing, willful engagement in inappropriate conduct,” Cohen attorneys wrote in a court filing Friday.
Cohen is President Trump’s longtime lawyer. Last month, the FBI raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room to seize a collection of documents, including those detailing payments on behalf of Trump to Daniels.
Avenatti, while representing Daniels, has also gone after Cohen on other fronts. Last week, he revealed information learned from leaked financial records about Cohen’s business dealings. The Treasury Department’s inspector general is currently investigating the leak of those records.
In Friday’s filing, Cohen’s attorneys cite Avenatti’s involvement in this to argue that a judge should deny Avenatti’s pro hac vice application. (That's when an attorney from another jurisdiction requests permission to practice in a particular case.)
This case is in New York. Avenatti is based in California.
They argue Avenatti’s motion should be denied because he “appears to have violated the local rules of this court, as well as the ethical rules applicable to lawyers practicing in this district.”
“Mr. Avenatti’s conduct in publishing confidential nonpublic bank records –without concern for the lawfulness of their disclosure or their accuracy –was inappropriate and was intended to unfairly prejudice Mr. Cohen,” they said.
Avenatti called the accusations in the filing “baseless” in an email to Fox News.
Cohen’s attorneys portrayed Avenatti as seeking publicity, claiming he’s appeared on national television or made statements about Cohen 147 times over the past 10 weeks.
“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,” the attorneys wrote.
Fox News’ John Roberts, Adam Shaw and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.