Two lawyers for Mr. Davidson, Michael Padula and Gene Rossi, said on Wednesday that they saw nothing objectionable in the text messages. “The idea that an attorney isn’t going to have some communication with the other side is absurd,” Mr. Padula said. “Mr. Avenatti characterizes it that they should be adversarial and mean, but that isn’t always the case.”
Mr. Davidson’s past client list has put him in the middle of the sex-tape cases of the “Austin Powers” actor Verne Troyer, the wrestler Hulk Hogan and the onetime Playboy model and MTV host Tila Tequila. The lawyer’s tactics have come under scrutiny before, including in 2010, when the California State Bar suspended his law license for 90 days for four counts of misconduct.
Ms. Clifford’s 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.