Stormy Daniels’ ‘Gay Dads’ Back Lawyer Michael Avenatti in Latest Drama
They fell out with the porn star over money, but are still big fans of the attorney she accused of disrespecting her.
Stormy Daniels’ “two gay dads” have come forward in support of Michael Avenatti following her claims to The Daily Beast that the attorney launched an online fundraising effort and sued Trump for defamation without her permission.
Keith Munyan and his partner, J.D. Barrale—longtime friends of Daniels—were among the porn star’s biggest cheerleaders in media interviews. But they said their bond with Daniels has frayed in recent weeks because of her and her estranged husband’s demands for money from a merchandise website they operated on her behalf, and because of her husband’s hot-tempered text messages to them.
“What she has done to Michael Avenatti publicly she has done to us privately for the past month,” Barrale told The Daily Beast on Wednesday afternoon, before he filed a report with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office against Daniels’ husband, Glendon Crain.
“What's happening to Michael Avenatti is wrong because he’s so good to her,” Barrale added. “He's been the best thing that's ever happened to her.”
It’s the latest drama to plague Stormy’s sphere, and a sliver of positive news for Avenatti, who has been buffeted by legal setbacks; a Los Angeles woman’s domestic violence claims, which he denies; and now criticism from the client who catapulted him to fame and fueled a potential 2020 presidential run.
Munyan and Barrale filed the police report in response to one particular text from Crain, who on Wednesday sent a disturbing expletive and slur-laced missive to Munyan, accusing him and Barrale of withholding website proceeds from their family:
“Guess what… Now you’ve fucked with my daughters’ money, which means you’ve now fucked with me… Rest assured I will get that 25,000 back that you two FAGGOTS decided to keep for no other reason to spite Stormy… Trust me, your new ‘Gold Digger’ partner JD is the last of your problems now… That’s my Daughter’s money and I’m gonna take it out of your ASS…I WILL FIND YOU, AND YOU WILL BE DEALING WITH ME…”
Behind the scenes, the California couple claims, Daniels has demanded revenues from their now-defunct Stormy Store, which sold T-shirts emblazoned with #TeamStory and “Don’t Make Me Spank You”—in reference to Daniels' alleged tryst with Trump, then a reality TV star, at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006.
“We’ve moved into a small community and we are private people and we never meant to get into the public eye. That’s not our thing,” Barrale said on Thursday. “We had to go to the police because of that threat.”
Barrale pointed out that the text contained “hate speech” and added, “Of course, we’re concerned. Someone’s threatening you like that and using that type of language.”
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment but police confirmed to The Blast that someone contacted them around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“The case is under investigation but at this time does not appear to rise to the level of a criminal threats case,” the sheriff’s office told The Blast, which was the first to report on the bad blood between Daniels and the men who dubbed themselves her “gay dads.”
“The incident was documented and is still under investigation. Due to the ongoing investigation and the fact that there has been no determination of a crime being committed no additional information will be released at this time.”
For his part, Crain told The Blast that Daniels had nothing to do with his messages to the couple. (Crain did not return calls or emails from The Daily Beast.)
“Stormy had nothing to do with my text messages and statement. I was relayed information that involved my family and money set aside for our daughter and I got very upset,” Crain told the website, adding, “I am not homophobic and Stormy is not homophobic.”
Crain claimed $25,000 from the merch site was supposed to be reserved for their daughter. “I am not apologizing for the way I feel, but I am apologizing for the way I acted and what I said,” Crain told The Blast. “This message was spur of the moment when my aggression was high but does not reflect my true feelings.”
But it wasn’t the only nasty text Crain sent Munyan. The first came on March 13, after Munyan told The Daily Beast that Trump phoned Daniels “all the time” and that she’d put him on speakerphone.
“Guess I was the last to know about this whole Stormy/Trump thing,” Crain wrote, according to screenshots provided by Munyan. “Just found out last night that she’s been lying to me this whole time.. Loved your story that I read today, just reiterates the fact that all of you knew and I just look like a fucking Chump…”
“Stormy can associate with whomever she wants, just know that if I have any kind of say in this whole shit-show, [my daughter] will NOT be visiting you anytime ever again…”
“Enjoy your ‘15 minutes,’” Crain concluded.
The Daily Beast contacted Barrale and Munyan on Wednesday, after Daniels issued a statement claiming Avenatti “ignored” her requests for accounting information from her original effort to raise funds through CrowdJustice, which collected nearly $600,000.
Barrale said he was shocked at Daniels’ comments on Avenatti and that he didn’t know of any trouble brewing in Stormyland. Hours later, he and Munyan told The Daily Beast that he was about to file a police report against Crain, Daniels’ husband and the father of her daughter. They also said the friendship with Daniels had become rocky.
Munyan said he was skeptical that Avenatti was withholding donations from Daniels. “Accusing him of taking her money? Come on,” Munyan said. Barrale chimed in, “All you have to do is follow her Twitter and she’s all over the place traveling and living like Beyonce.”
At the center of the squabble is the Stormy Store, a merchandise site Munyan created and operated on Daniels’ behalf. The site was recently deactivated.
Barrale says he and Munyan “did all the work” on the website and that Daniels hardly promoted it despite their pleas. He said they’re trying to determine how much money was made after the startup costs.
Munyan and Barrale estimate $30,000 was spent to launch the site, including expenses for materials, inventory and web design. “After her first brush with fame, the sales haven’t been there for months,” Barrale said of plummeting revenue.
According to Barrale, Avenatti was not involved in the Stormy Store, but he and Munyan contacted the lawyer Wednesday after the Daily Beast’s exclusive. They wanted to send Avenatti their information on the website.
“I felt bad because he’s been very supportive and helpful,” Barrale said of Avenatti. “I think he’s done an excellent job in representing her. In this process, we’ve come to know him and respect him.”
Daniels has accused Avenatti of failing to treat her “with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client.”
“He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent,” Daniels said in her Wednesday statement. “Now he has launched a new crowdfunding campaign using my face and name without my permission and attributing words to me that I never wrote or said.”
In response, Avenatti said, “I am and have always been Stormy’s biggest champion. I have personally sacrificed an enormous amount of money, time and energy toward assisting her because I believe in her. I have always been an open book with Stormy as to all aspects of her cases and she knows that.
“The retention agreement Stormy signed back in February provided that she would pay me $100.00 and that any and all other monies raised via a legal fund would go toward my legal fees and costs,” Avenatti continued in a statement. “Instead, the vast majority of the money raised has gone toward her security expenses and similar other expenses. The most recent campaign was simply a refresh of the prior campaign, designed to help defray some of Stormy’s expenses.”
A representative for Daniels did not return an email seeking comment about Barrale and Munyan.
Avenatti declined to comment on Munyan and Barrale’s police report against Crain, or on the couple’s allegations that Daniels and Crain were demanding money from them.
“We have confirmed that a complaint with the police was made against Stormy and Glen last night,” Avenatti said. “We have been told there is an ongoing investigation.”