Prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels interview, attorney says
(CNN) – Federal prosecutors have canceled their planned interview with Stormy Daniels Monday, according to Daniels’ attorney.
In a tweet late Sunday, attorney Michael Avenatti said prosecutors were canceling their meeting with the adult film actress because of media attention.
“So I was just informed by the US Attys office that they are cancelling the mtg tmrw scheduled with me and my client (for weeks) because the press found out about the mtg and they can’t handle a few cameras outside their offices,” he said.
The US attorney’s office had no comment earlier Sunday when word leaked out about the session.
The interview had been expected to focus on the $130,000 hush money Daniels received in 2016 from Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump about a decade earlier, which Trump denies.
Avenatti went on to say: “If they consider this a big deal, how will they ever bring any serious criminal charges against Cohen et al, let alone handle a trial in such a high profile matter?
“We have bent over backwards to accommodate them. This is unheard of. We remain willing to cooperate but something isn’t right …”
Avenatti later tweeted out an email he sent to federal prosecutors in response to the cancellation, saying: “They don’t appear to have the stomach for a case of this magnitude.”
In the email, Avenatti says, “We believe canceling the meeting because the press has now caught wind of it is ridiculous. We do not think it was any secret that at some point you were going to meet with my client. And the fact that cameras may be present outside of your office is no moment. Further, this fact, while annoying, has no impact on the substance of the meeting, which should be the focus.”
According to a fuller email exchange shared by Avenatti, Assistant US Attorney Nicolas Roos responded that the meeting was canceled because “we have learned that you leaked to the press the fact and location of our meeting with your client.”
“Such leaks are inappropriate in and of themselves, and more importantly, call into question your commitment to maintaining the required confidentiality of the substance of our meeting with your client,” Roos said. “Such confidentiality is critical to the diligence, fairness, and integrity of this, and indeed all, investigations conducted by this Office. For these reasons we have cancelled our meeting, and will reassess how to proceed.”
Avenatti said the accusation was “patently false.”
A source familiar with the matter told CNN earlier Sunday the interview with prosecutors from the Southern District of New York scheduled for Monday afternoon was in advance of Daniels’ grand jury testimony.
Daniels has been cooperating with prosecutors for several months and has been in regular contact with them, according to the source.
Daniels was subpoenaed by prosecutors as a part of the Cohen investigation, the source said, and she provided authorities with documentation about the $130,000 payment. The Washington Post first reported the interview.
For months, Cohen has been at the center of a firestorm after reports surfaced that he made the payment to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.
Trump — who previously said he was not aware of the $130,000 payment — denied that any campaign money was used to reimburse Cohen and said he personally reimbursed Cohen for the payment.