Over the last several days, President Trump’s legal thugs and media mercenaries have stepped up their attacks on Michael Avenatti, the pugnacious lawyer representing the president’s porn star mistress, Stormy Daniels.
While Rudy Giuliani, the latest member of Trump’s revolving door legal team, is engaging Avenatti directly on Twitter and through statements in the press, Fox News is running unsubstantiated reports accusing him of illegally leaking financial information and of acting as a tool of big money Democratic donors.
Michael Avenatti is fighting back, and he’s not afraid to fight dirty. Late Friday, he dropped an ominously cryptic message about long-time Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on Twitter, and everyone is scrambling to figure what it all means.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 11, 2018
“In 2017-18 – Why was Mr. Cohen paying Demeter Direct Inc. in Los Angeles large sums of money from his Essential Consultants LLC account?” He asks. “Keep attacking me Mr. Giuliani and @foxnews. Please.”
Who or what is Demeter Direct? Good question. A Google search brings up a link to demeterdirect.com that completely blank except for an ‘under construction’ message. A second website, ‘demeterdirect.net,’ brings up a pop-up ad, the kind pirate internet sites use to spread malware.
But a deeper search turned-up a cached version of demeterdirect.com that wasn’t ‘under construction’ a few days ago. In fact, it was completely built. Here’s how they describe themselves in the ‘about’ section:
“Demeter Direct Inc. is a privately held, U.S.-based corporation headquartered in Los Angeles, California and a network of consulting partners in over 15 countries across the globe. Demeter will be your gateway and bridge to doing business in international markets.”
They also promote themselves as an “international team of professionals [with] over 55 years of collective knowledge and expertise that gives us a unique advantage in providing professional services to companies across a broad range of industries.”
Apparently secrecy and discretion aren’t their strong suits.
This snapshot version of demeterdirect.com was captured on May 7th, just a day before Michael Avenatti published his list of entities with financial ties to Michael Cohen, which includes a Russian oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin as well as mainstream American corporations like AT&T. That means the site was taken down sometime after that report went public.
The timing almost certainly explains the curious disappearance of Demeter Direct’s website.
More curious still is the nature of the payments in question. Most of the entities embroiled in the budding pay-for-play scandal have been busted for giving money to Michael Cohen. Demeter Direct, however, appears to be first entity accused of receiving money from Trump’s long time fixer.
That has been the one looming mystery surrounding this latest episode in the Trump-Russia scandal: Where did all the money Cohen got go? We know $130,000 went to Stormy Daniels in the hush money payment that initiated this entire scandal, but records appear to show that Cohen’s Essential Consultants shell company collected at least $4.4 million from his various ‘clients.’
Following the money down this new rabbit hole Michael Avenatti just opened up might finally lead us to an answer. And the way things are looking, it won’t be an answer Trump will like.