Michael Avenatti asks Stormy Daniels about belief in ghosts during fraud trial questioning

Daniels faced off against the now-disgraced attorney in the NYC federal courthouse

Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti appeared to try to portray his former client Stormy Daniels as someone who might be delusional as he questioned the porn star about her belief that she was once haunted by ghosts.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, faced off against the now-disgraced attorney in the New York City federal courthouse, where Avenatti, 50, is standing trial on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Avenatti has pleaded not guilty. 

In this courtroom sketch, Michael Cohen, seated left in the back row of the courtroom, turns and looks at Stormy Daniels as she enters court to testify, in New York, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.  (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams / AP Newsroom)

For a second day, Avenatti, who is acting as his own lawyer in the case, got to cross-examine Daniels about allegations that he stole $300,000 the performer was supposed to get from a publisher for writing a tell-all book about an alleged sexual tryst with former President Donald Trump. Trump has denied the claims.

He asked Daniels about stories she’s told about living in a New Orleans house in 2019 that she said was haunted. Daniels said she experienced frightening encounters, including physical attacks from invisible assailants, a doll who calls her "mommy" and the ability to communicate with dead people.

"Sometimes I record them," she said of the conversations with the dead.


Avenatti asked if encounters in the home that she has since moved out of included "shadow figures and unexplainable sounds and voices that prowled your home."

In this courtroom sketch, Michael Avenatti, left, representing himself, holds a copy of the book that Stormy Daniels authored as he questions her, seated right, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, in New York.  (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

"Yes," she said.

Avenatti asked if it made her life impossible.

"Correct," she said.

And he asked if her then-partner questioned her sanity.

"Yes, this is all documented," she said.

Avenatti asked Daniels about a story she once told in which she said she’d seen an image of a woman in her apartment who was sobbing over a dead child and cutting her wrists and then looked down and saw that her own arm was covered in blood.

FILE - Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, left, stands with her lawyer Michael Avenatti during a news conference outside federal court in New York, April 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

He asked her if that really happened.

"Yes," Daniels answered.

"And you don’t remember opening the drawer, taking the knife out, or cutting yourself," Avenatti asked.

"Correct," she said.

"And at the time you began to think that you were crazy?" he asked.

"Correct," she answered.

He also elicited from Daniels that she was diagnosed at one point with a tumor in her head. She said the diagnosis was made by "Lisa," who engages in holistic medicine as an energy worker and yoga instructor. The tumor, she added, has since gone away.

Avenatti also questioned Daniels on the stand Friday over public statements she has made in which she said she hoped he would be raped in prison.

"Yes," she acknowledged, she had said those things.

Michael Avenatti, center, arrives to Federal court in Manhattan, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo / AP Newsroom)

"So you said it on our podcast and you said it on Twitter," he asked.


"Yes," she responded.

Daniels said Thursday she had hired Avenatti in early 2018 to represent her in her claims against President Trump. Daniels sought legal representation because she wanted to speak publicly about her claims that she had a sexual tryst with Trump more than a decade earlier. She had been paid $130,000, days before the 2016 presidential election, to remain silent. Trump has denied the claims.

She said a formal agreement called for her to pay Avenatti $100. She gave it to him in cash at a restaurant in Los Angeles, and he used it to pay for lunch.


Daniels also said a crowd-funding website was used to raise $650,000 for Avenatti's representation of her.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Sobelman asked her if she had ever agreed with Avenatti to pay him more than the $100.

"No," she testified.

Fox News' Marta Dhanis contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.