Michael Avenatti and Stormy Daniels split up

Hunter Walker
White House Correspondent

Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who has said she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, has parted ways with her high-profile attorney, Michael Avenatti.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was first to announce she had new representation in a tweet posted Tuesday afternoon.

“I have retained Clark Brewster as my personal lawyer and have asked him and his firm to review all legal matters involving me. Upon completion of Mr. Brewster’s review and further consultation with me, I anticipate Mr. Brewster will serve as my primary counsel on all legal issues,” Daniels wrote.

About 10 minutes later, Avenatti posted his own statement on Twitter where he framed the decision to part ways as his own. Avenatti said that, on Feb. 19, his office “informed Stormy Daniels in writing” that “we were terminating our legal representation of her for various reasons that we cannot disclose publicly due to the attorney-client privilege.”

Stormy Daniels speaks to the media along with lawyer Michael Avenatti outside federal court in the Manhattan in 2018. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters)

Avenatti did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Yahoo News. An unnamed person responded to a message sent to Daniels’s public relations email address with a note referring to her prior tweet and pointing out that it was “issued 11 minutes before Mr. Avenatti released his statement.”

Daniels’s allegations were a central part of the case against Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen. Last August, Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple federal felony charges, including some that stemmed from payments he made to Daniels so she wouldn’t share her story during the 2016 election. Cohen acknowledged that those payments were illegal campaign contributions.

Cohen has accused the president of directing him to make the payments, though Trump initially maintained he knew nothing of the arrangement and later claimed the payments were not related to the campaign.

Avenatti represented Daniels in multiple lawsuits related to her alleged affair and the hush money payments. His position as her attorney made him a fixture on cable news where he regularly criticized Trump. Avenatti developed a large liberal following and even enjoyed a brief period late last year where he flirted with entering the Democratic presidential primary.

Last November, Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in Los Angeles after his former girlfriend made a report to police. He described the allegations as “completely bogus” and ultimately was not charged, though prosecutors said the matter would remain open.

Daniels initially distanced herself from Avenatti following his arrest, including claiming that he had filed a defamation suit against the president and often spoke on her behalf without her knowledge. The pair later reconciled.

The domestic violence incident also seemed to torpedo Avenatti’s potential presidential bid. In December, just over two weeks after his arrest, Avenatti announced he would not run. He said the decision came “after consultation with my family and at their request.”


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