POLITICS
05/14/2018 12:31 am ET Updated May 14, 2018

Michael Avenatti Posts Photos Of Cohen With Qatari Investor Accused Of Bribery

"Warning ignored. So here it goes," Stormy Daniels' attorney tweeted.

Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti posted photos Sunday on Twitter showing Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen getting into an elevator at Trump Tower with a man appearing to be a Qatari banker accused in a lawsuit affidavit of boasting that he bribed Washington politicians.

Avenatti said Cohen was in the building shortly after the presidential election meeting with a group of Qataris, including Ahmed al-Rumaihi, an official of  Qatar’s national wealth fund.

The photos of Cohen appear to be screengrabs of a video posted on C-Span from the “Trump Tower Cam” dated December 12, 2016. A group of men — including the man who appears to be al-Rumaihi — can be seen getting into an elevator with Cohen. Cohen pats one of the men on the back as the group enters the elevator.

A photo apparently taken from a C-Span video appears to show Michael Cohen (right) about to enter a Trump Tower ele
C-Span screengrab/Michael Avenatti tweet
A photo apparently taken from a C-Span video appears to show Michael Cohen (right) about to enter a Trump Tower elevator with a man who looks like Qatari Ahmed al-Rumaihi (left), looking over the shoulder of the lobby guard.

In a tweet, Avenatti linked to the video (up top) showing the men entering the elevator (just after 7:42:30) and most of them leaving (shortly after 9:08:15). This is a clip of the video showing the group of men with Cohen:

Why did the men meet, Avenatti asked in his tweet, adding: “and why did Mr. Al-Rumaihi later brag about bribing administration officials according to a sworn declaration filed in court?”

Al-Rumaihi was accused last month of trade libel and contractual interference in a $1.2 billion lawsuit filed by rapper Ice Cube and business partner Jeff Kwatinetz. The suit accuses Al-Rumaihi and other investors of failing to pay funds promised to the partners’ BIG3 basketball league.

An affidavit filed last week in California Superior Court in Los Angeles accused Al-Rumaihi of plotting to use the promised investment to influence former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

“After making partial payment to the BIG3, there were numerous occasions during the 2017 season where Mr. Al-Ruhmaihi would bring up Mr. Bannon’s name to me and comment about Mr. Bannon’s political positions, his views on the blockade, the Trump administration’s position toward Qatar, and he persistently inquired about wanting to meet with Mr. Bannon,” Kwatinetz stated in the affidavit.

“Mr. Al-Rumaihi requested I set up a meeting between him, the Qatari government, and Steven Bannon, and to tell Steve Bannon that Qatar would underwrite all of his political efforts in return for his support.”

Kwatinetz, who is a friend of Bannon’s, said that he rejected the offer because he considered it a bribe. He stated that he did not tell Bannon of the conversation.

Kwatinetz said in the affidavit that “Al-Rumaihi laughed and [said] that I shouldn’t be naive, that so many Washington politicians take our money.” 

Avenatti also tweeted a photo in the lobby of Trump Tower the same day of the apparent meeting of Cohen talking with Michael Flynn. But that photo appeared to be a screen grab from a different YouTube video of the lobby. Flynn is not seen with the man who appears to be al-Rumaihi or the group he is with. Trump fired Flynn as his national security adviser after Flynn lied about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Avenatti’s tweets.

Avenatti indicated that the photos and information he posted Sunday were payback for the “refusal of various” unspecified “parties to come clean” and to “stop with the personal attacks.” Although he didn’t specify who he was talking about, the attorney taunted: “Keep pushing us.”

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