Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels, reportedly sought funding from leading Democratic groups in an effort to help his client's legal battle against President Donald Trump, according to The New York Times.
Avenatti contacted Bradley Beychok, the president of American Bridge, a super PAC founded by liberal political operative David Brock, while someone associated with Avenatti's law firm reached out two Democratic donors, two anonymous Democratic operatives told the Times. Avenatti reportedly suggested that he was seeking $2 million in donations, at least partly from Democratic benefactors.
American Bridge opted against donating to Avenatti's case, according to the operatives, because the PAC's leaders decided it was not a good use of their money.
In a statement to CNBC, Avenatti denied the Times' report.
"Never happened," Avenatti said in an email. "But what I can tell you is we have turned down over $200,000 from Republican donors looking to harm the president."
Avenatti declined to name the donors.
"They [Republican donors] offered the money in the last month, Avenatti added. "We turned it down because we will only accept money through the crowdjustice.com website in the interest of disclosure."
Avenatti and Daniels have been financing his efforts through the crowdfunding site. So far they have raised $527,000 from more than 15,000 donors, according to the Times.
A representative with American Bridge confirmed to CNBC that Avenatti spoke with Beychok, but declined further comment.
Avenatti has been in the limelight since he began representing Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Daniels is suing Trump, claiming that the non disclosure agreement that barred her from discussing her alleged intimate relationship with Trump that happened years before the 2016 presidential election is invalid because Trump did not sign it.
Daniels received a $130,000 hush payment in the days before the election. The source of the payment was Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer who is under criminal investigation for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations. Though the White House denied knowing of the payment, it was later revealed Trump reimbursed Cohen the $130,000.
Avenatti has been openly critical of Trump and tried to become involved in Cohen's criminal case before backing off Wednesday. However, Avenatti claims that Daniels' case is "not about politics."
"I can't tell you the name of every person that I have spoken to, or not spoken to, over the last three months," Avenatti told the Times, "but what I can tell you is that we have not taken any political-associated dollars from anyone on the right or anyone on the left. Period."