On July 6, former Playboy Magazine November 2010 "Playmate of the Month" Shera Bechard filed a lawsuit claiming that a high-ranking Republican fundraiser and Donald Trump supporter, Elliot Broidy, had failed to make payments on a $1.6 million "hush money" agreement that she made with Broidy over an affair that resulted in Bechard's pregnancy and subsequent abortion, as the Inquisitr reported earlier this month.
But the suit also contained a surprise, naming as a defendant Michael Avenatti, who is best known as the lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels — who also received a "hush money" payoff to keep quiet over a brief affair with Trump. When the lawsuit was filed, however, the document was sealed at the request of Bechard and her lawyer, Peter Stris — so even Avenatti had no idea why he was named. But on Tuesday, a judge in Los Angeles Superior Court unsealed the lawsuit, and Stris posted it online on his law firm's website.
According to allegations in the lawsuit, Avenatti received confidential information about Bechard's "hush" agreement with Broidy from Bechard's former lawyer, Keith Davidson, who had also previously represented Daniels in her "hush" deal with Trump. Both deals were negotiated by Trump's lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen, who according to a report by The Daily Beast was "recruited" by Davidson to work out the $1.6 million payoff to buy Bechard's silence.
Cohen negotiated the deal between Daniels and Trump as well, also working with Davidson.
The other character who turns up repeatedly in the multiple hush-money payoffs is Bechard's lawyer, Peter Stris — who, as Law.com reported, is also the lawyer who negotiated a settlement for Karen McDougal, another former Playboy centerfold model who was paid to keep quiet about an affair with Trump. McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., owners of The National Enquirer and controlled by longtime Trump friend and loyalist David Pecker.
Avenatti, however, threatened Stris with a lawsuit of his own after Stris posted the unsealed lawsuit online.
"It is really big of you to release this when you should have never filed the original complaint under seal to begin with," Avenatti wrote in response to Stris, on his Twitter feed. "When I am ultimately exonerated in this case because I did nothing wrong, I am coming after you, your firm, and your client for malicious prosecution. Good luck."
In the lawsuit, Stris admits that Bechard "does not have personal knowledge that Mr. Davidson disclosed her confidential information to Mr. Avenatti." He writes that the information about the alleged leak from Davidson to Avenatti came from Broidy — the primary target of the lawsuit, and that Broidy also has no direct knowledge of what transpired between Avenatti and Davidson. But Broidy "insists" that Davidson leaked the information to Avenatti.
The leak then prompted Broidy to cut off his hush money payments to Bechard, leading to the legal action.