Stormy Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, is either stupid or extremely stupid and may be in very big trouble.
Avenatti found what he believed was dirt on President Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, evidence of “illegal financial transactions,” and he published this damning information in a seven-page dossier. The only problem is that in at least two of the cases of “illegal financial transactions,” the Michael Cohen involved is not the Michael Cohen who is President Trump’s attorney.
The burning question is…. was this an innocent mistake by Avenatti, who didn’t even do enough background work to determine if the man with a very common name was or was not the same Michael Cohen who serves President Trump as his personal attorney before blasting the identity of those individuals and their personal financial history to the world? If that’s the case, Avenatti is stupid and should be disbarred.
Or, did Avenatti know that the Michael Cohen he was accusing of financial wrongdoing was the wrong Michael Cohen but figured that no one would check and he could get away with it? If that’s the case, then Avenatti is extremely stupid and should be disbarred, prosecuted, and sued.
Michael Avenatti, porn star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, released a seven-page dossier on Tuesday containing a list of payments purportedly made to Michael Cohen, the lawyer for President Donald Trump.
But there is one problem with the document: two of the allegedly “fraudulent” payments were made to men named Michael Cohen who have no affiliation with Trump.
Avenatti’s report includes a section listing “possible fraudulent and illegal financial transactions” involving Trump’s lawyer. One of the payments is a $4,250 wire transfer from a Malaysian company, Actuarial Partners, to a bank in Toronto.
Did Avenatti have to go to the other side of the planet to find a Michael Cohen to dig up dirt on and try to pin that on the president’s attorney? Implausible, at best. There are thousands of Michael Cohen’s in the US. Perhaps Avenatti thought that the Michael Cohen he was doxing would never know and he would get away with it. EXTREMELY stupid!
The other is a $980 transfer from a Kenyan bank to Bank Hapoalim — the largest bank in Israel.
Zainal Kassim, a representative for Actuarial Partners, told The Daily Caller News Foundation Avenatti’s report is a case of mistaken identity. He forwarded an email the falsely accused Michael Cohen sent to Avenatti requesting the lawyer “correct this error forthwith and make it known publicly” there is no connection to Trump’s Michael Cohen.
“You are surely aware of the fact that this is an extremely common name and would request that you take care before involving innocent parries in this sordid affair,” wrote Cohen, who told Avenatti he is an international consultant who was paid by Actuarial Partners for work on a project in Tanzania.
“Actuarial Partners have already received inquiries from the press in this regard, and we would like to see this scurrilous rumour spiked as soon as possible.”
Haaretz, the Israeli news outlet, found another case of mistaken identity in Avenatti’s report.
“Mr. Cohen received one wire transfer in the amount of $980.00 from a Kenyan bank from account holders Netanel Cohen and Stav Hayun to an account in Israel at Bank Hapoalim,” Avenatti wrote.
Haaretz caught up with Netanel Cohen, who acknowledged having a bank account in Kenya and transferring money to a Michael Cohen. But the Michael Cohen in questions is his brother, Netanel told the news outlet. And his brother is not Trump’s lawyer.
“I’ve never heard of Michael Cohen, and I have no connection to this affair,” Netanel told Haaretz.
I’m convinced. Avenatti did not make a couple of honest mistakes. This was intentional and he should be prosecuted, sued, and disbarred.
It is unclear how Avenatti obtained the financial records cited in his report. But various news outlets, including The New York Times, also appear to have viewed the documents. The Treasury Department’s office of the inspector general opened an investigation into whether someone leaked Cohen’s financial documents to Avenatti and the press, it was reported on Wednesday.
It remains a mystery how the financial records of a completely separate Michael Cohen would have ended up in the tranche of documents provided to Avenatti.
Other transfers tied to Michael Cohen, the Trump lawyer, actually did occur. Several companies, including AT&T, Novartis and Columbus Nova, a firm linked to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, acknowledged paying Cohen’s company, Essential Consultants.
Cohen used that firm to route a $130,000 payment to Daniels in October 2016. Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006, is suing Cohen and the president to get out of a non-disclosure agreement she signed in exchange for the money.