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Ex-Tully's owner represents porn star Stormy Daniels vs. Trump

AP file photo

The lawyer for Stormy Daniels -- the porn star suing President Donald Trump -- is the same man who purchased Tully's, the struggling Seattle-area coffee chain, out of bankruptcy in 2013.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles-based attorney Michael Avenatti spoke with media outlets to talk about client Daniels' lawsuit against Trump over a non-disclosure agreement signed just before the 2016 presidential election. Trump's personal attorney paid Daniels $130,000 to keep mum.

In the suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday, Avenatti and Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) claimed the agreement that prevented her from discussing sexual encounters with Trump is invalid because the president didn't personally sign it.

The lawsuit claims that Clifford and Trump began an "intimate relationship" in 2006 that continued into 2007. Trump married his third and current wife Melania in 2005. That claim has been disputed by Trump surrogates, including attorney Michael Cohen, who paid Clifford $130,000 as part of the agreement.

Avenatti, 47, has had his share of high-profile cases. He represented the family of Cathriona White against actor Jim Carrey, alleging that Carrey provided ex-girlfriend White with the prescription painkillers she eventually used to kill herself in September 2015. That lawsuit was thrown out of court last month.

As was pointed out by The Seattle Times Thursday morning, Avenatti is best known locally for heading up Global Baristas LLC, which purchased Tully's out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy for $9.2 million in 2013.

Actor Patrick Dempsey of "Grey's Anatomy" fame was an original investor in the venture, but later sued his former partner, claiming that Avenatti had broken their agreement by borrowing $2 million against Global Baristas assets.

Dempsey and Avenatti quickly reached a settlement, but Global Baristas has been involved in dozens of lawsuits since.

Avenatti quietly divested his interest in Global Baristas nearly a year ago, according to a Global Baristas spokesperson. He still serves as the company's general counsel. A previous version of the story identified him as the current owner. We regret the error.

In November, SeattlePI reported the company owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes and was being sued for failing to pay rent on its offices on the Seattle waterfront near Pike Place Market.

A spokesperson for Global Baristas placed blame on the state, saying "as is often common with companies with multiple reporting divisions, clerical errors occur by various governmental agencies relating to how financial reporting occurs, how payments are recorded and to which accounts those payments are posted."

The company was evicted from its corporate offices on Western Avenue and closed three Seattle-area stores later that month.

That came a couple of months after the chain ended its more-than-a-decade-long relationship with Boeing in September, with each company slinging mud at each other in statements to the media.

In January, Keurig Green Mountain, from whom Avenatti bought the coffee chain, sued Global Baristas and revoked its permission to use the Tully's name for failing to pay its licensing fees.

SeattlePI is a KOMO News partner. You can read this story at SeattlePI here.

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