Stormy Daniels’ So-Called Legal Fund Is Raising Some Serious Questions

Daniels Avenatti Legal Fund Questions

Stormy Daniels has been using a crowdfunding site to raise money for her lawsuit against President Trump. She has raised almost a half-million dollars. Both Daniels and her lawyer have used the success of the site as evidence against the charge that they are bankrolled by Trump’s political enemies. 

The truth of the matter is that no one knows for sure who is funding the lawsuit. There are more than 14,000 donations that have been made mostly anonymously. The amounts have ranged from $10 to $5,000. The total amount raised through Monday is more than $490,000 on crowd.Justice.com. This site is dedicated to helping people raise money for legal expenses. 

Roughly $100,000 arrived in the last week since Avenatti released documents about payments Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received from private companies. The companies in question were seeking information about the president’s beliefs on various issues.

Goal of Crowd Funding Campaign Is $850,000

The goal of the crowd funding campaign is $850,000. Avenatti said this was a “realistic and reasonable target based on what we know right now.”

Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School, said, “It does bring up some ethical concerns in terms of who is actually giving this money and whether they will try to exert influence.” Levinson is also the president of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission.

Kathleen Clark, a professor of ethics law at Washington University, echoed Levinson’s concern. The anonymous donations can be “fodder for public debate on who is actually backing this lawsuit,” Clark said.

“Of course when the third party is actually 14,000 different people it seems actually less of a danger than it would be in an ordinary case where a single third party would be paying,” she said.

Avenatti has denied claims from some Trump supporters that his pay for work on the case comes from an organized effort to get rid of Trump.

“We have no ethical concerns whatsoever,” Avenatti told The Associated Press. “I find this fascination with who is paying my client’s legal bills to have passed the line of absurdity at this point. We have been very, very clear when answering these questions. Who is paying Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Cohen’s legal bills? Do we know?”

CrowdJustice said the average donation for Daniels’ case was $34. This is “consistent with average donation amounts across the platform.” Only 24 of the donations have been over $1,000, Avenatti said.

Avenatti Never Looked At Donors

Also, Avenatti said he has “never looked at who the individual donors are to this website” and has not asked for it. He added that he has not taken any strategy advice from donors.

“Because somebody is contributing to the effort, doesn’t mean they get to provide strategy advice. The only person I take direction from is my client period.”

Avenatti has denied that Daniels’ case has anything to do with politics and has said he supports some things Trump has done as president, including deregulation and tax cuts.

Do you believe him?

Credit: AP News