Stormy Daniels’ Ex-Lawyer Defending Trump Stuns Republicans

A number of Republicans expressed shock on Wednesday after Michael Avenatti, the former lawyer to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, defended Donald Trump over the gag order issued in the Manhattan criminal case against the former president.

Avenatti wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday: “We can’t be hypocrites when it comes to the 1st Amendment. It is outrageous that [Michael] Cohen and Daniels can do countless TV interviews, post on social, & make $$ on bogus documentaries – all by talking shit about Trump – but he’s gagged and threatened with jail if he responds.”

Avenatti, who previously represented Daniels in lawsuits against Trump, is currently serving time in prison for stealing millions of dollars from his clients and obstructing efforts from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to collect taxes from his now-defunct coffee business Tully’s. One of the client’s Avenatti defrauded was Daniels, for $300,000.

Trump, the presumed 2024 GOP presidential nominee, has been indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records relating to hush money payments made to Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign in a case brought on by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Daniels has alleged that she was paid to keep silent about an affair she had with Trump in the early 2000s. Trump has denied the affair and pleaded not guilty to all charges. He has claimed that the case is politically motivated.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti, left, attends a charity event at Vibrato Jazz Grill on November 4, 2019, in Los Angeles. Former president Donald Trump speaks to the media during a pre-trial hearing at Criminal Court on…

Gregg DeGuire/Brendan McDermid-Pool/Getty Images

Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the case set to go to trial on April 15, imposed a gag order on Trump last week, protecting witnesses like Daniels and court staff from being targeted publicly by the former president. Merchan and Bragg were excluded from the initial order and on Monday, but Merchan expanded the order to protect his family after Trump lashed out against his daughter, Loren Merchan, several times on social media.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer turned fierce critic, has appeared on MSNBC on multiple occasions to discuss Trump’s legal woes, including the Manhattan criminal case, which he is a star witness in. Meanwhile, last month, Peacock released a documentary titled Stormy, in which the adult film actress shares her life story.

A number of conservatives and Trump supporters expressed surprise over Avenatti’s post on Wednesday.

Laura Loomer, a far-right activist and Trump supporter, responded to Avenatti’s post on Wednesday: “WOW. Never thought I would see this. @MichaelAvenatti is defending President Trump’s right to free speech and is calling out the gag order imposed by Judge Merchan. Avenatti was one of the biggest Trump haters, and even he’s calling out this outrageous gag order on Trump.”

“Believe it or not: The @DNC’s Communist Lawfare is so disgraceful – That I agree with a disgraced former Democrat superstar, posting from his prison cell!” wrote X user @ConserValidity, a self-described constitutional conservative and supporter of Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement.

Another Trump supporter, X user @texan_maga, wrote: “Avenatti is correct. Perhaps sitting in prison, he’s done some soul searching.”

“You know that @TheDemocrats and Leftist Judges have #ScrewedUp when Michael Avenatti defends what’s happening to Trump,” wrote X user @CreasonJana, a MAGA supporter.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s spokesman via email for comment.

Meanwhile, when Merchan issued the initial gag order, Cohen said: “I want to thank Judge Merchan for imposing the gag order as I have been under relentless assault from Donald’s MAGA supporters.

“Nevertheless, knowing Donald as well as I do, he will seek to defy the gag order by employing others within his circle to do his bidding, regardless of consequence.”