Michael Avenatti has withdrawn his request to represent adult-film star Stormy Daniels in the case centered on the FBI raid of President Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen.
Shortly after a conference hearing Wednesday in a federal district court in Manhattan, Avenatti withdrew his request to weigh in on the case.
Cohen is reportedly being investigated, among other things, for the $130,000 he paid Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about the affair she says she had with Trump.
Avenatti reportedly faced tough questions during the hearing from federal District Judge Kimba Wood, who told him in court on Wednesday he would have to stop his “publicity tour” if he wanted to participate in the case.
Cohen’s attorneys fought hard to keep Avenatti from joining the case, arguing in court filings that he’s 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.
Earlier this month, Avenatti released bank records leaked to him that showed several companies had paid Cohen through a shell company for consulting services.
Wood reprimanded Avenatti in court, according to multiple media reports.
“You cannot declare your opinion as to Mr. Cohen’s guilt, which you did. You would not be able to give publicity to documents,” Wood said, according to the New York Daily News.
“You’re entitled to publicity. I can’t stop you — unless you’re participating in a matter before me.”
Wednesday’s court conference was scheduled, in part, to discuss the issue of what materials seized from Cohen are protected under attorney–client privilege.
Wood has assigned a special master in the case to review the documents that were seized to determine what’s privileged. The judge said in court Wednesday that the review must be completed by June 15 and any remaining material would be turned over to a government “taint-team,” the New York Daily News reported.
In the document Avenatti filed in court Wednesday, he said he is withdrawing his request to intervene and will re-file it, if necessary, at a later time.