Attorney Michael Avenatti Friday was awarded $12,500 in attorneys’ fees from a former Playboy model six months after he won dismissal of part of the case she filed against him and others, including a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump.
Avenatti had asked for more than $63,000 from Shera Bechard, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White granted him a reduced amount.
Avenatti, best known for his former representation of adult film star Stormy Daniels, said after the hearing that he was pleased with the award.
“This was a frivolous case brought against me,” Avenatti said. “I should never have been named in this case.”
Avenatti said Bechard’s claims should be focused on former Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy, the primary defendant in the case.
On Sept. 7, White dismissed Bechard’s allegations that Avenatti conspired to put his interests ahead of hers and her claim for interference with prospective economic advantage.
Bechard’s tortious interference of contract claim against Avenatti was not dismissed.
Avenatti maintained in his court papers that he and the other attorneys who successfully argued that the dismissed allegations violated his free-speech rights were entitled to compensation under White’s ruling.
“Each of the tasks the attorneys performed were reasonable and necessary and Avenatti should be compensated through an award of attorneys’ fees,” according to his court papers.
Bechard alleges Broidy breached their contract by stopping installment payments on the deal after details of their affair were leaked by others. The deal required Broidy to pay Bechard $1.6 million in eight installments.
The 61-year-old, married Broidy admitted to having a consensual sexual relationship with Bechard and said he agreed to make payments to her after she told him she’d become pregnant and had an abortion.
Bechard additionally sued her former lawyer, Keith Davidson, who arranged for the payment as part of a nondisclosure agreement negotiated on Broidy’s behalf by New York attorney Michael Cohen, who had been Trump’s personal lawyer. Bechard alleges Davidson worked against her interests by secretly coordinating with Cohen and crafting an agreement that was favorable to Broidy.
The former Playmate claims Avenatti interfered in her contract by making key details public in a tweet after he allegedly got the information from Davidson.