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‘Like a Small-Time Carnival Magician’: Michael Cohen’s Lawyer Rips Into Avenatti in New Court Filing


Michael Cohen‘s lawyer filed a response to Michael Avenatti‘s attempt to block or limit a possible restraining order that would keep the attorney for Stormy Daniels from discussing her case in public or in the media. As brash as Avenatti has been in his comments about Cohen and President Donald Trump, Cohen’s attorney Brent Blakely may have gone above and beyond in this latest court filing.

Blakely’s reply is in opposition to Avenatti’s argument that his media appearances and tweets would not put the case at risk of not being able to have an impartial jury. Blakely accused Avenatti of using misdirection and blaming others in order to support his own conduct.

“Like a small-town carnival magician who attempts to confuse the audience with smoke and mirrors,” Blakely said, “Avenatti attempts to somehow justify his conduct by pulling the First Amendment out of his tiny bag of tricks while at the same time pointing his finger at others.”

Blakely said that Avenatti’s arguments are irrelevant, as the issue “is not being decided by Avenatti’s twitter followers, but rather by this Court.”

Aside from personal attacks against Avenatti, Blakely made legal arguments against Avenatti’s position, claiming that Daniels’ lawyer misstated the law in his justification for either being able to continue speaking in public, or–should the court decide to silence him–for any gag order to equally apply to Cohen, Trump, and Rudy Giuliani.

Blakely pointed out that the difference between Avenatti and the three men mentioned above is that only he is an attorney representing someone before the court in the current case. Cohen and Trump are parties, and while Giuliani represents Trump in the Russia investigation and has made plenty of televised comments about the Daniels case, he is not representing the president in that matter.

Cohen’s lawyer also argued that while Avenatti cited the strict “clear and present danger” test for prior restraints on speech, the appropriate standard is from a more recent case that says only a “substantial likelihood of material prejudice” is needed to prohibit speech by an attorney participating in a case.

Avenatti had strong words of his own in response to the court filing from Cohen’s team.

“Cohen’s attacks are baseless and desperate,” he said in an email to Law&Crime. “It is an absolute joke that he files a brief complaining about my media appearances on the same day GMA airs his interview. He clearly doesn’t have a problem with press, provide it is his own spin.”

[Image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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