What began as a coincidental encounter between Michael Avenatti and Michael Cohen on Monday evening evolved into what Avenatti is calling a potentially “critical” meeting.
The two bumped into each other at the New York restaurant Scalinatella, Avenatti told CNN, which led to a “lengthy” and “frank” conversation.
“We had a very open, honest and frank discussion that I found to be extremely productive. It was lengthy. It was frank,” Avenatti said.
Vanity Fair previously reported on the encounter between Avenatti and Cohen.
“Michael and I conversed and I found that meeting to be productive,” Avenatti said. “That meeting could ultimately end up being a critical meeting.”
Avenatti is representing the adult film star Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump over a dispute about a nondisclosure agreement that Cohen facilitated.
Cohen was a longtime personal lawyer for Trump, but has been criminal under investigation for months, according to an announcement from the Justice Department in April.
When asked about what he and Cohen discussed during their conversation Monday, Avenatti said, “Had Mr. Trump witnessed this interaction, he would have blown a gasket.”
Avenatti also noted that he did not pick up Cohen’s tab.
On Friday, CNN reported that the FBI had obtained a recording between Trump and Cohen in which the two discuss a payment to a former Playboy model who alleges she had an affair with Trump, according to Rudy Giuliani and a source familiar with the matter. Trump has denied the alleged affair.
Cohen has other recordings of the President in his records that were seized by the FBI in an April raid, said both a source with knowledge of Cohen’s tapes and Giuliani, who described the other recordings as mundane discussions.
When asked about the Cohen recordings, Avenatti said Cohen has “multiple” recordings of his conversations with Trump. He added that Cohen was provided a copy of all the tapes seized by federal investigators.
“We are again demanding the release of the tapes,” Avenatti said.
Cohen and his lawyer declined to comment.
CNN’s Evan Perez, Dana Bash, Gloria Borger and Erica Orden contributed to this report.