Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, wanted desperately to participate in the federal case against President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen – that is, until the judge told him that he would have to cut back on his endless television appearances to do so.
Judge Kimba Wood, who is presiding over the Cohen matter, dressed Avenatti down in court on Wednesday, telling him that while she was receptive to his desire to be a participant in the case, she wasn’t going to allow him to use the case as fodder for his many (many) TV guest spots.
Avenatti is not a direct party to the federal case against Cohen, but his representation of Daniels involves him in the matter to some degree. His client is currently suing Cohen over a nondisclosure agreement she was asked to sign in the closing days of the 2016 election.
But in addition to representing Daniels in the case, Avenatti has declared himself a card-carrying member of the #Resistance, and he rarely misses a chance to go on CNN or MSNBC to drop little secret hints about the many sins of Cohen and Trump. One blog found that Avenatti had been on CNN more than 70 times in a single month. Another reported that he was pitching a “Crossfire” type show that would feature himself and Anthony Scaramucci as co-hosts. It is clear that this is one man who isn’t shy about letting his celebrity ambitions be known.
On Wednesday, Judge Wood told Avenatti that he would have to bring his “publicity tour” to an end if he wanted to have a place in her courtroom.
“I say ‘publicity tour’ not in a derogatory sense,” she said. “You’re entitled to publicity, I can’t stop you…unless you’re participating in a matter before me.”
Wood was not only generally turned off by Avenatti constant need for attention, she was concerned that he was poisoning the well by going on television every night to accuse Cohen of every crime under the sun.
“I want you to either participate or not be in the matter at all,” she said. “I don’t want you to be in some sort of limbo where you’re able to denigrate Mr. Cohen.”
Wood withheld her final decision on Avenatti’s petition to join the case, and he later saved her the trouble of having to decide. With the stakes made clear to him – be present in the courtroom or maintain his neverending talk show schedule – he withdrew his motion to appear.
Stormy had better hope the judge in her case doesn’t give Avenatti a similar ultimatum.