Published On: Sat, Sep 15th, 2018

Michael Avenatti Says Michael Cohen Helped Donald Trump ‘Rig the Election’ and He ‘Deserves the Max Penalty’

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Last month, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts involving campaign finance violations and tax and bank fraud. The crimes could land Cohen behind bars for years, and Michael Avenatti likes the sound of that.

“Michael Cohen is a criminal and he deserves the max penalty,” said the lawyer for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels on Twitter.

Daniels is in the midst of a lawsuit with Trump over a non-disclosure agreement she signed about an alleged affair with Trump before he took office. As part of his plea deal, Cohen admitted he violated campaign finance laws when he made a $130,000 hush-money payment to Daniels “in coordination and at the direction” of then-candidate Trump in the weeks prior to the 2016 elections.  

“He had many opportunities to come clean and do the right thing and yet continued to lie and cover up his crimes,” Avenatti said in a text message to Newsweek on Saturday. “He continued to deceive the American people and investigators for months on issue of critical importance.”

The lawyer also said Cohen’s crimes “go to the heart of our electoral process,” and, if allowed to go unchecked, “would operate to destroy our democracy.”

Avenatti has been a longtime critic of Trump, Cohen and other current and former allies of the president. He’s currently considering a run for president to challenge Trump in 2020. On Twitter, Avenatti said because Cohen admitted to withholding information about the hush-money payments from going public to protect Trump and his campaign, “he conspired to help rig the election.”

“And he is now trying to prevent my client from discovering the truth about Trump’s conduct,” Avenatti said. “His loyalty is to Trump, not America.”

In an interview with the Dutch TV show RTL Late Night with Twan Huys earlier this month, Daniels said she and Avenatti have more damning information on Trump that could potentially bring an end to his presidency.

“Is there something you know now that we will know soon that could bring down this presidency?” Huys asked.

“Yes, there is stuff that I know, and I would say it’s a 50-50 shot at this point,” Daniels responded. “Which is pretty scary odds if you’re the president.” Daniels believed Trump was “much too arrogant” to ever resign.

Avenatti, both in TV interviews and to Newsweek, would not elaborate on what Daniels was specifically referring to. Daniels also would not elaborate during her interview.

Cohen has yet to be sentenced as he continues to cooperate with federal investigators, per the terms outlined in his plea deal.

Former federal prosecutors have told Newsweek that should Cohen ever be called to the witness stand in a case involving the president, he would most likely be viewed as a credible witness because of multiple tapes the attorney secretly made of conversations between him and Trump.

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