Stormy Daniels reserves judgment on 'troubling' domestic violence claims against Michael Avenatti, warns she will drop him as lawyer if they're true

Key Points
  • After his arrest in Los Angeles for alleged domestic violence, Michael Avenatti strongly denied he had ever been violent toward a woman as first and second wives rallied to his defense.
  • Avenatti's most famous client, porn star Stormy Daniels, said she is holding off on making judgments about the "serious and very troubling" domestic violence allegations, but warned she will drop him as her lawyer if the claims end up being true.
  • Avenatti is mulling running for president against President Donald Trump.
Michael Avenatti speaks to the media outside the Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific Division after being released from police custody following his arrest on a felony domestic violence charge, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Los Angeles.
Michael Owen Baker | AP

Porn star Stormy Daniels on Thursday said she is holding off on making judgments about the "serious and very troubling" domestic violence allegations that led to the arrest of her controversial attorney Michael Avenatti, and urged the rest of the public to likewise not rush to conclusions.

But Daniels also warned that she will drop Avenatti as her lawyer if these allegations "prove true."

Daniels' comments to NBC News came a day after Avenatti was arrested on a felony domestic violence charge by Los Angeles police.

Avenatti, who became nationally famous for handling Daniels' legal issues related to her purported ex-lover President Donald Trump, on Thursday strongly denied he had ever been violent toward a woman as his first and second wives rallied to his defense.

"I want to be clear: I DID NOT commit domestic violence nor have I ever committed domestic violence," Avenatti said in a tweet Thursday.

"I did not strike any woman, nor have I ever."

Avenatti's first and second wives said he had never been violent to either of them — or to anyone else.

Daniels, in a statement, said, "These are serious and obviously very troubling allegations, but right now that is all they are: allegations."

"We should all reserve judgment until the investigation — an investigation Michael has said he welcomes — is complete, and that's what I'm going to do," Daniels said.

"But of course I do not condone violence against women and if these allegations prove true I will be seeking new representation."

Daniels gave a talk Thursday in England at the Oxford Union debating society at Oxford University.

The Oxford Union, in its description of Daniels' appearance, said, "Her talk is entitled Sex, Guns & Other Fluff: How Porn Can Set You Free, and she will argue that stigmatizing the adult industry and people who work in it is bad for society."


In his own tweet Thursday morning, Avenatti compared the allegation against him to a recent unsubstantiated claim by 20-year-old internet provocateur Jacob Wohl that special counsel Robert Mueller had committed sexual misconduct against a woman in 2010. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election that sent Trump to the White House.


Wohl's purported private investigative company Surefire Intelligence — whose original phone number connected to the house of Wohl's mother — tweeted Wednesday after Avenatti's arrest that "Surefire Intelligence strikes again."


Trump supporter Wohl replied to Avenatti's claim Thursday morning by calling the lawyer "a SICKO" in a tweet for implying Wohl was somehow involved in Avenatti's arrest. Wohl told CNBC he contacted police to report "Michael Avenatti's criminal threats against me," and he provided CNBC with the number for that report. Irvine, California, police said they took a report with that same number Thursday.

Mueller's spokesman, Peter Carr, last month said the allegations "that women were offered money to make false claims" about Mueller had been referred to the FBI for investigation.

The 47-year-old Avenatti — was booked by LA police Wednesday afternoon on a charge of felony intimate partner violence.

Avenatti was released within several hours after posting $50,000 bail. Afterward, he said any accusations about him of physical abuse are "fabricated, and meant to do harm to my reputation."

The attorney, who is considering a run for president in 2020, is due to make his first court appearance in the case on Dec. 5 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Police said an unidentified victim had made a complaint against Avenatti on Tuesday night in the Century City area of LA.

Cops, who have called the case "an ongoing investigation," would not release any additional details about the incident on Thursday morning when CNBC inquired.

The news site TMZ was the first outlet to report the arrest — but erroneously stated that Avenatti's estranged wife, Lisa Storie-Avenatti, had filed the police report against him.

Storie-Avenatti's lawyer said, "Ms. Storie-Avenatti was not subject to any such incident on Tuesday night. Further, she was not at Mr. Avenatti's apartment on the date that this alleged incident occurred."

"My client states that there has never been domestic violence in her relationship with Michael and that she has never known Michael to be physically violent toward anyone," the wife's lawyer said.

Storie-Avenatti told CNN: "I haven't seen Michael in months. It's a complete fabrication. It's a lie. It's all a lie."

"He wouldn't hit anybody. Especially a woman. He's got two daughters," Storie-Avenatti said.

Avenatti's first wife, Christine Avenatti-Carlin, said in a prepared statement, "I've known Michael for the last 26 years, we met when he was 21 years old and we were married for 13 years."

"Michael has always been a loving kind father to our two daughters and husband [to me]. He has never been abusive to me or anyone else. He is a very good man."

Avenatti began representing Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in early 2018 after reports that she had been paid money from Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen shortly before the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her agreement to keep quiet about an affair with Trump a decade earlier. The White House has denied any such affair.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to several crimes, including campaign finance violations related to the $130,000 payment to Daniels, as well as to a payment to another woman.

Cohen has said that Trump directed him to make the payment to Daniels.