That January, Mr. Cohen also wrote to Mr. Davidson that “the wise men all believe the story is dying and don’t think it’s smart for her to do any interviews.” After Mr. Davidson agreed “100 percent,” Mr. Cohen replied, “Thanks pal.”
Other text messages accompanying the court filing showed that in early March — three days after Mr. Cohen had secretly obtained a temporary restraining order to silence Ms. Clifford — Mr. Cohen indicated to Mr. Davidson that he was talking with the first lady, Melania Trump.
Mr. Avenatti on Wednesday called the private messages evidence that “prior denials by Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen relating to what Mr. Trump knew, and about the honesty of my client, were absolute lies.” He argued it was implausible that Mr. Cohen would have arranged a media appearance for Ms. Clifford without Mr. Trump’s knowledge, or that Mr. Cohen would have withheld details of his efforts to silence Ms. Clifford from the Trump family.
In late April, Mr. Trump, who had weeks earlier denied knowing about the payment to Ms. Clifford, confirmed that Mr. Cohen had represented him in the agreement.
The lawsuit seeks more than $200,000 as well as punitive damages. It calls for Mr. Davidson to share all of his files on Ms. Clifford with her, and for Mr. Cohen to disclose any recordings of phone conversations he had with Mr. Davidson relating to Ms. Clifford. In an April raid of Mr. Cohen’s home and office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized numerous recordings.
In a separate legal agreement months before the 2016 election, Mr. Davidson represented another woman who said she had had an affair with Mr. Trump — the former Playboy model Karen McDougal. In March this year, Ms. McDougal also sued to be released from her nondisclosure agreement, alleging that Mr. Davidson had not honestly represented her interests and had, per reporting by The New York Times, secretly communicated with Mr. Cohen, who was not a party to her contract. In April, she was freed from that agreement.