Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, on Monday asked the Treasury Department to release information it has on a suspicious activity report (SAR) regarding Cohen’s payment to Daniels.
As part of the hush agreement Daniels signed barring her from talking about her alleged relationship with Trump, Cohen paid her $130,000 through a business he set up, Essential Consultants, LLC. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the bank Cohen used to make the payment, First Republic Bank, flagged the transaction as suspicious.
Avenatti noted the Wall Street Journal report in his letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and that the report was filed to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau within the Treasury Department.
He said that information on the suspicious activity flagged by First Republic Bank would be helpful in the lawsuit, in which Daniels alleges that the payment amounted to an illegal campaign contribution to Trump’s presidential campaign. Avenatti noted that if Cohen’s payment had nothing to do with Trump, as Cohen has claimed, then releasing the information should not be an issue.
“Indeed, if the payment was made as innocently as Mr. Cohen has suggested, there should be no objection to the prompt release of the SAR,” Avenatti wrote.
Avenatti asked the Treasury department to release the report and any related documents by April 11.