Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, explores run for president with visit to Iowa

Michael Avenatti shakes hands at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Thursday.
(Zach Boyden-Holme / Associated Press)

After months of hammering President Trump in frequent television interviews, lawyer Michael Avenatti has arrived in Iowa to explore a potential run for the White House.

The attorney for porn actress Stormy Daniels toured the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Thursday.

He’ll be the star speaker Friday at the Democratic Wing Ding dinner in Clear Lake.

And he’s meeting with farmers to hear how Trump’s tariffs are affecting the state that kicks off the 2020 contests for the Democratic presidential nomination.


“I am seriously considering it but have not made a decision,” Avenatti said by email. “I would be running in an effort to end this disaster of a presidency and restore America to its rightful place, both domestically and internationally.”

Avenatti’s pugnacious manner has made him a ubiquitous presence on television news and talk shows in the five months since Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, sued the president to void a confidentiality pact that bars her from talking about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump.

Avenatti, 47, is a Newport Beach plaintiffs’ lawyer who specializes in lawsuits against powerful companies accused of wrongdoing.

“I have over 18 years fighting on behalf of Davids vs. Goliaths,” he said. “I have extensive knowledge as to how government functions, how laws are made, and how they are enforced. I also have extensive experience dealing with Constitutional law matters.”

Avenatti’s aggressiveness toward Trump and his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has made him a hero to some on the left and a loathed figure to some on the right.

“Trump and I may share some of the same ‘form’ but there is no comparison when it comes to substance,” Avenatti said. “I can run circles around him from an intelligence perspective and as it relates to understanding the rule of law, the judicial branch, how legislation is enacted, and how government operates. There is no comparison.”

Avenatti’s professional history poses political challenges, though. He chaired the company that ran the troubled Tully’s Coffee chain in Washington state as it shut down its outlets and struggled with lawsuits over delinquent rent and liens for unpaid payroll taxes.

Also, Eagan Avenatti, the Newport Beach law firm he runs as managing partner, emerged in March from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Since then, it has been mired in U.S. Bankruptcy Court proceedings over its default on millions of dollars in debt and $880,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest that it owes the Internal Revenue Service.

Asked whether he was concerned about potential political fallout from his business troubles, Avenatti said, “Anyone that has had great success has had great challenges. I am no different.”

Twitter: @finneganLAT


10:40 a.m. This article was updated with details about Avenatti’s professional history.

This article was originally published at 8:40 a.m.