Michael Avenatti quizzed Stormy Daniels about her ability to speak to dead people and “dark entities that prowled” her former New Orleans home as he attempted to shatter her credibility in court on Friday.
Mr Avenatti, 50, resumed his cross-examination of his former star client on Friday by asking Ms Daniels about a supernatural television show she is developing called Spooky Babes, in which she claims to investigate and remove “malevolent paranormal phenomenon”.
“How do you speak with the dead?” Mr Avenatti asked pointedly.
“I don’t know, it just happens sometimes,” the adult film actress, real name Stephanie Clifford, replied. She added she used cards and meditation to communicate with them.
“Are you able to have conversations with them?” he asked.
“Sometimes. I record them. Like remote viewing, into people homes.”
Mr Avenatti went on to ask her about “dark entities” in a New Orleans house that Ms Daniels used to live in with her former boyfriend and publicist Denver Nicks.
“So in New Orleans, you claim you experience poltergeist phenomena and unexplainable voices that prowled your home, right?”
Ms Daniels said she had experienced several unexplained interactions with the spirit world while living there, including visions of dead people, and believing her ex-partner Mr Nicks had been possessed.
“From time to time you pull up in front of the house in an Uber and you talk to the house?” he asked.
Ms Daniels said “It’s a TV show.” Mr Avenatti: “So you’re making it up?” “No,” she replied.
Ms Daniels was asked again about a talking doll that appears on Spooky Babes called Susan, that Ms Daniels claims calls her “Mommy”.
Mr Avenatti is on trial for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges in a federal court in Manhattan over claims he stole a $300,000 (£223,800) advance from an $800,000 (£596,000) deal with St Martin’s Press for Ms Daniels’ 2018 book Full Disclosure.
He has denied any wrongdoing, and said he was entitled to payments for his work representing Ms Daniels in several lawsuits in 2018 including for litigation brought against President Donald Trump.
Mr Avenatti began his cross-examination on Friday by asking Ms Daniels about statements she had made on a podcast hosted by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen where she expressed the hope that he would be sexually assaulted in prison.
Ms Daniels agreed she had made the remarks, but that she did not actually mean them. Mr Cohen was in court on Friday.
Ms Daniels earlier testified that she had met Mr Avenatti in February 2018 at the Beverly Hills Waldorf-Asotoria and hired him the next day over lunch at a Los Angeles restaurant to help her extricate herself from a $130,000 non-disclosure agreement she had signed with Mr Trump.
She agreed to pay him $100 and a “reasonable percentage” of future earnings, and he soon set up a crowdfunded legal defence fund which would ultimately bring in $650,00 (£485,000).
Mr Avenatti returned to the attorney-client fee contract on Friday, and asked Ms Daniels to read a sentence about him being “entitled” to some of her future earnings.
“You’re very entitled, yes,” she replied.
On Thursday, prosecutors showed the jury dozens of WhatsApp messages between the pair which they say prove that Mr Avenatti was lying about having received the book advance.
Ms Daniels said her former attorney strung her along for months while claiming to be chasing her publisher St Martin’s Press for the book advance.
Mr Avenatti fired his legal team on day one over a disagreement on trial strategy and is defending himself.
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