In a new lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who claims to have had an affair with President Donald Trump, has sued her former attorney, Keith Davidson, as well as Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime attorney and self-styled “fixer.” The suit alleges that Davidson, Cohen, and Trump secretly colluded to undermine Daniels’ interests.
At the center of the case is a series of text messages which show that Davidson, unbeknownst to Daniels, was secretly communicating with Cohen. At the time of these communications, Davidson was serving as Daniels’ personal attorney, which means that he had a fiduciary duty to represent Daniels interests. What Daniels’ new suit alleges — and what these text messages seem to demonstrate — is that Davidson was actually working to advance the interests of Trump, not his client.
Daniels current attorney, Michael Avenatti, was able to obtain the text messages because they are part of her “case file.” The materials and communications that a lawyer generates on behalf of a client belong to the client — if the client switches lawyers, those materials are sent to the new lawyer.
The communications at issue began when Cohen learned that the magazine In Touch had imminent plans to publish an interview that Daniels gave in 2011 which detailed her affair with Trump. Cohen reached out to Davidson and, through calls and text messages, attempted to book her on Sean Hannity’s eponymous Fox News program to deny the affair.
Hannity, significantly, operates as a close adviser to Trump, speaking to him nearly every evening.
After Davidson was unable to get Daniels to commit, Cohen changed his mind. According to the text messages, Cohen contacted the “wise men” who said they believed the story was “dying” and that Daniels should not conduct any interviews.
In her suit, Daniels asserts that one of these so-called “wise men” was Trump himself. She does not provide any explicit evidence for this assertion, but it would presumably be a factual issue that could be explored in discovery, which would potentially include a deposition of Trump.
The lawsuit goes on to allege that when Davidson found out that Daniels was seeking to hire a new lawyer, he tipped off Cohen. That, according to the suit, prompted Cohen to file an arbitration claim in an attempt to silence Daniels. Cohen’s efforts, however, were unsuccessful, and Daniels would go on to file her initial lawsuit against both Trump and a shell company set up by Cohen, seeking a declaratory judgment that her non-disclosure agreement with Trump was invalid.
According to an interview Davidson gave to CNN, his representation of Stormy Daniels began after Cohen asked him to “look into” Daniels, who was talking to media outlets about her alleged affair with Trump.
[Davidson] said Cohen called him to say he’d heard Daniels was shopping around her story about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
Davidson agreed to look into the matter and ended up representing Daniels. He negotiated the nondisclosure agreement. He said Cohen told him he was paying the $130,000 settlement from his own pocket.
The lawsuit is not the first time that Davidson and Cohen’s relationship has been questioned. The connections between Davidson and Cohen — and the pattern of their interactions, which strongly suggest that the two men have made a practice of colluding in this manner — has been the subject of previous reports.
In addition to Daniels, Davidson was the attorney for Shera Bechard, a Playboy model with whom Cohen negotiated a $1.6 million settlement to secure her silence about an affair she allegedly had with Elliot Broidy, a major Trump fundraiser and deputy finance chairman for the Republican National Committee.
“Mr. Cohen reached out to me after being contacted by this woman’s attorney, Keith Davidson. Although I had not previously hired Mr. Cohen, I retained Mr. Cohen after he informed me about his prior relationship with Mr. Davidson,” Broidy said in a statement.
Moreover, Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate who alleges she had an affair with Trump, was represented by Davidson and alleged in a lawsuit that he was secretly conspiring with Cohen.
She hired entertainment lawyer Keith Davidson, who assured her that the rights to publish her story were worth millions. Unknown to Ms. McDougal, Mr. Davidson was working closely with representatives for Mr. Trump while pretending to advocate on her behalf.
McDougal also alleged that Davidson “failed to mention that they were secretly negotiating deals with other women to kill negative stories for Mr. Trump.” She eventually settled the lawsuit.
Keith Davidson has emerged as a central figure in this ongoing scandal. The new lawsuit adds to the existing evidence that he has made a habit of colluding with Cohen — and double-dealing his own clients. As more facts emerge, his role could expose an entire corrupt operation orchestrated by Trump to silence women.