In a contentious and entertaining interview on her morning show Wednesday, Megyn Kelly challenged Michael Avenatti, the lawyer of porn star Stormy Daniels, to defend his client’s rationale for claiming the non-disclosure agreement she signed with Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen in 2016 for $130,000 has “suddenly become invalid.”
“So you represent her, claiming that this agreement is invalid, you say it’s not valid, but she abided by it for 16 months without objection and cashed the $130,000 check that the [future] president’s lawyer gave to her,” she began (video below). “So when did it suddenly become invalid?”
Avenatti responded by claiming that Daniels “had understood during that 16-month time period that [Trump] had actually signed it. She was not provided with a copy of the agreement, but it was her understanding that the [future] president had signed the agreement and that he was upholding his obligations under the agreement.”
Kelly fired back: “His obligation in principle was to pay her $130,000, and that happened.”
“Well not exactly,” said Avenatti. Trump was also obliged to provide “a release of any claims” and to “stay away from her and her family” and “not to comment about her” or allow his agents to comment about her. “And, of course, Mr. Cohen broke that by responding to a report in the Wall Street Journal.”
The problem with his argument, pointed out Kelly, is that the agreement was between Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) and either Trump or Cohen’s legal group. In other words, Trump didn’t need to sign the NDA for it to be valid.
When Avenatti argued that Cohen “could not bind Trump to his obligations,” she smacked the premise down.
“He could bind himself,” she said. Besides, Daniels “signed it and cashed the check!” It was Daniels, not Trump, failing to hold up her “obligations,” suggested Kelly.
The agreement, she explained, didn’t even have to be in writing. An oral agreement also has legal validity. Even if the agreement does not include Trump’s signature, he was part of the agreement that Daniels signed and received payment for signing.
“What’s not fair, is for her to be constantly called a liar, basically, by Mr. Cohen and others, put under their thumb, intimidated, and not being able to provide an opportunity to tell her story,” said Avenatti.
Kelly cut him off: “Not have an opportunity to tell her story? 22 million people watched the 60 Minutes interview with Anderson!”
In one of the most memorable moments of the exchange, Avenatti described Daniels as a “principled woman,” which got a big response from Kelly and the crowd.
“She’s so principled that 11 days before the election, she had information about the possible next president having an extra-marital affair with an adult film actress and she shut up about it in exchange for just over 100 grand,” said Kelly.
“She wanted the dough!” she said. “And now she wants to keep the dough while violating the agreement, which — whether you like Michael Cohen or Donald Trump or not — doesn’t seem fair to them.”
When Avenatti floated his talking point about Daniels simply wanting Americans to know “the truth” about what happened, Kelly buried him by asking him the obvious question.
“Then why did she take the money? Why didn’t she just talk eleven days before the election?” she said.
Here’s the video via TODAY: