Attorney Michael Avenatti has become a media celebrity over the past few months and now he claims that Russia is planting false media stories about him. In an interview with Betsy Woodruff from the Daily Beast Avenatti says that he believes he has proof that the Russian government is behind the attempts to discredit him and damage his reputation.
According to Avenatti, he head about Russia’s involvement in the smear campaign from “two media figures and a high-ranking American intelligence official.” He did not offer any concrete evidence to the Daily Beast to prove his contentions, however.
But he did offer his opinion as to why Russia is doing this, and what their motivations are:
“They’re doing it because they see me as a threat, a considerable threat,” he said. “If we weren’t a threat, none of this would be happening.”
Avenatti, of course, is representing Stormy Daniels in her legal battle with President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen. She’s trying to get out of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) she signed shortly before the 2016 presidential election that prohibits her from discussing her sexual relationship with President Donald Trump.
As he has become a media star in his own right, Avenatti has also made some claims that seemed far-fetched at the time but subsequently proved to be true.
Just a month ago, for example, he released to the press copies of documents he had obtained which alleged that a company linked to Viktor Vekselberg funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Cohen. Vekselberg is a Russian oligarch and a Putin ally who is currently the subject of sanctions under U.S. law. Avenatti was able to make the connection between Trump’s attorney/fixer and a Putin ally that no one else had made. As a result, it is believed that both Trump and Putin now see Avenatti as a threat and they want to discredit him and silence him.
Avenatti is now saying that people in the Russian government are claiming that he frequently traveled to Moscow and had encounters with women there. But Avenatti said, “I’ve never been to Moscow in my life, I’ve never traveled to Russia in my life.”
“They suggested that I had had a liaison with multiple women in Russia,” he added. “I found that to be rather ironic.”
According to Avenatti, Russians are also spreading rumors that he previously represented Russian and Ukrainian legal interests. But he maintains that he has never represented any Russian or Ukrainian entities. He did say, however, that he was feeling the heat by taking on such powerful figures.
“I think I’ve been nervous for the entirety of the case,” he said. “Certainly this raises the stakes. But we’re not going to pack up and go home. I’m not going to change what I’m doing just because the Russians don’t like it.”
Avenatti is a fighter, and he will keep on fighting not only for his client but also to uncover the truth about Donald Trump and his shady friends and business dealings.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.