Stormy Daniels says Michael Avenatti ‘flat-out’ lied about her in fraud case

Stormy Daniels says Michael Avenatti ‘flat-out’ lied about her in fraud case

Former pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels said Friday that she fears her past profession will count against her when the jury decides her fraud case against disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti.

The jury deadlocked Thursday on the first two charges in the criminal case against Avenatti, an outspoken celebrity lawyer and frequent foe of former President Donald Trump.

Avenatti is charged with ripping off Ms. Daniels on a book deal.

Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said her careers as an adult film star and stripper have often resulted in discrimination against her.

“I wish I could say that wasn’t the case, but that has been my life for 20 years,” she said on CNN. “I’ve been turned down for things strictly because I work in the adult film industry.”

“I’m way more afraid that if [Avenatti] is not found guilty that it sets a precedent that will be terrifying for anyone in the adult film business,” Ms. Daniels continued. “It’s basically free life to commit crimes against us and get away with it and that’s really terrifying.”

She said that Avenatti, who is representing himself, has made her porn star background an issue in the case.

He actually mentioned while I was on the stand, ‘you are an actress and you did porn. You are used to rehearsing lines and faking things.’ Like really, OK?” she said.

Avenatti also is appealing the more than 2-year prison sentence for his conviction last year of attempting to extort up to $25 million from Nike. At least a dozen other cases are pending in California charging him with cheating clients, bank fraud and tax fraud.

In Ms. Daniels’ case, U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman urged the jury to carry on and continue deliberation, reminding the jurors they committed to working toward a verdict.

Count one was a wire fraud charge and count two was an aggravated identity theft charge.

Prosecutors say Avenatti cheated Ms. Daniels out of nearly $300,000 she was owed for her autobiography and used the fund on personal expenses and to keep his law firm afloat.

Avenatti has countered that he was owed the money for negotiating the deal and did nothing wrong.

Ms. Daniels said Avenatti repeatedly lied about her on the stand.

“Some of the things he said in the case were flat-out lies, like, just bizarre,” Ms. Daniels said.

Ms. Daniels said Avenatti made up his claim that she used the proceeds from a crowdfunding website she set up for her legal battle with Mr. Trump to buy a personal truck. 

Ms. Daniels sued Mr. Trump to get out of a non-disclosure agreement she signed — she also got a $130,000 payment — not to divulge their alleged sex romp.

She called the truck allegation “ludicrous.”

He completely made up that I went out and bought a truck,” she said. “I didn’t own a truck then, I don’t own one now. But because he was representing himself, he was able to say whatever he wanted. Even if it was overruled or supposedly struck from the record, the jury is still sitting there. They still heard it,” she said.

He had free rein to say whatever ludicrous things he said about me that he wanted and it’s completely not fair,” Ms. Daniels said.