A federal judge on Wednesday told Michael Avenatti to stop his “publicity tour” if he wants to continue participating in court proceedings against Michael Cohen, President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE’s personal attorney, according to multiple reports.
Cohen’s attorneys have asked the federal district court to bar Avenatti from representing adult-film star Stormy Daniels in the case. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to prevent her from going public about an alleged affair with Trump.
While Judge Kimba Wood did not rule on Cohen’s request, she did throw a sharp warning to Avenatti, who has become a fixture on cable news networks in recent months.
"I say publicity tour not in a derogatory sense. You’re entitled to publicity, I can’t stop you — unless you’re participating in a matter before me,” Wood said, according to New York Daily News reporter Stephen Brown.
Wood told Avenatti he can’t give his opinion about the case if she allows him to represent Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
“You cannot declare your opinion as to Mr. Cohen’s guilt, which you did,” she said, according to Brown’s report on Twitter. “You would not be able to give publicity to documents.”
Avenatti created a firestorm earlier this month when he released bank records leaked to him that showed several companies had paid Cohen through a shell company for consulting services.
Cohen’s attorneys argued in court documents that Avenatti has created a “carnival atmosphere” by making public statements and doing national TV appearances in which he’s shared nonpublic information and made misrepresentations about Cohen.
“To our knowledge, this court has never been presented with clearer evidence of the deliberate creation of a carnival atmosphere and inappropriate conduct while an attorney’s application for admission was pending,” Cohen’s attorneys wrote.
“Moreover, this is an unprecedented attack on an individual who has not been charged with any crime.”
Avenatti tried to show the court Tuesday that he’s in good standing to represent Daniels in the case.
In an affidavit, he said he was named "a finalist for Public Justice’s Trial Lawyer of the Year Award as a result of the $454 million class action jury verdict I obtained last year in federal district court on behalf of surgeons, nurses, hospitals and trauma centers that had been defrauded."
Cohen’s dispute with Daniels has spilled over into the federal case that prosecutors in New York seem intent on bringing against him. Law enforcement raided Cohen’s personal belongings, and prosecutors are reportedly investigating him for potential campaign finance violations and bank fraud.
The hearing Wednesday was scheduled, in part, to update the court on the review of materials that were seized from Cohen’s office and hotel room on April 9.
Wood has assigned a special master in the case to comb through the documents and determine what could be protected under attorney-client privilege and thus withheld from prosecutors.
In a report Tuesday, the special master said she had reviewed 639 hard copy documents, totaling 12,543 pages, and that Cohen and Trump had made 252 total privilege designations.