It was quite the week for lawyers outdoing themselves on television. Let’s start with the ever-present Michael Avenatti. In less than two months, Avenatti appeared on CNN 59 times. Fifty-nine times!
As tweeted by the Washington Free Beacon’s David Rutz, Avenatti appeared on seven different programs on MSNBC on a single day, May 4. I do hope alleged Donald Trump paramour Stormy Daniels is his only client, because I find it difficult to believe he’s not neglecting his other cases and clients.
Last week I discussed the defamation suit Avenatti filed on behalf of Daniels against the president over a tweet. Finally, CNN contributor and legal analyst Paul Callan called out Avenatti to his face, and said the lawsuit was a “publicity stunt.”
True to form, Avenatti acted like a complete buffoon in response. At one point, Callan mentioned Daniels had appeared in 200 to 500 pornographic movies. Avenatti interrupted him and asked, “From what you’ve read or what you seen?” How can anyone take Avenatti seriously when he continues to act like a jack-ss?
When pressed by Callan on actual legal questions, Avenatti became flustered and childishly cried “You’ve got to stop interrupting me!” It was nice to finally see someone push back at Avenatti’s nonsense.
Avenatti has repeatedly and consistently insisted he has not been wrong in his declarations. (I specifically remember him saying this because it’s a really stupid proclamation to make.) Well, we won’t be hearing that silly claim anymore. On Thursday, he was on MSNBC and just made stuff up about Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and the alleged “wiretap.” I’m not exaggerating. He not only spewed nonsense, but he made it appear that he had inside knowledge to confirm his statements as fact.
Among other things, he said “they [the feds] also, my understanding is, they were also wiretapping text message communications for the weeks leading up to the FBI raids.” Avenatti added the FBI had learned that Cohen and others were going to destroy evidence, and once they had that information, that served as the “predicate or basis for them to be able go in and get the warrants” to conduct the searches.
As we all now know, these statements are completely false. I’ve been saying for weeks this is a clown show, and this was certainly a well-deserved pie to the face. An attorney just making stuff up as he goes is beyond embarrassing to the profession. I hope this guy gets his TV show and never practices a day of law again. If you haven’t heard, Vanity Fair reported that Avenatti asked MSNBC President Phil Griffin for his own show. Indeed, I’ve recently been told he is close to signing an agent.
During that same disastrous MSNBC appearance, Avenatti repeated his claim that the president is not going to serve out his term. This brings me to who is funding this charade. This week Daniels confirmed in a tweet what we all already knew—that she is not paying Avenatti. We know they have a legal fund set up. But I am beginning to think there is something or someone larger at play.
It’s no secret that for five years Avenatti worked at a political opposition and media firm run by Rahm Emanuel, who we all know went on to become Obama’s chief of staff. Indeed, Avenatti’s website says that during this time he worked on more than 150 campaigns, including Joe Biden’s Senate campaign! Maybe those rumors of Biden running in 2020 aren’t so farfetched, and maybe Avenatti is being paid to muddy the waters (although let’s be honest, they are sufficiently muddy). It’s just a theory. Unlike Avenatti, I won’t proclaim it’s fact, or that I have any inside knowledge of this being true.
Avenatti won’t disclose who referred Daniels to him, and he certainly is not disclosing who is paying his bills. On “Meet the Press” yesterday, he said no political party or anyone who is politically active referred the case to him. He also called any claims to the contrary a “conspiracy theory.”
Here’s the thing, Avenatti: I no longer find you a credible source of information. Avenatti also declined to discuss with NBC and MSNBC’s Chuck Todd if he has been in contact with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and said, “They are going to respect the process.” I laughed out loud when he said that. I don’t think Avenatti knows what it means to respect the legal process.
Enter Rudy Giuliani. On Wednesday night, the former mayor of New York City and new Trump attorney appeared on Sean Hannity’s TV show. For reasons I don’t think I will ever understand, Giuliani confirmed that Trump was aware of Cohen’s payment to Daniels and paid Cohen back the $130,000. Giuliani also went on a tirade against Mueller and his “totally garbage investigation.”
It seems an about-face from Trump’s prior counsel, who seemed focused on working with Mueller and resolving this whole mess. Commentary’s John Podhoretz recently theorized in The New York Post that the new approach is meant as a threat, not only to Mueller, but also to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller. This makes sense and could be part of a new strategy to fight back. For anyone who is familiar with the former mayor, as Podhoretz says, he is “a believer in waging total war against political enemies and those who’d stymie his efforts.”
Finally, I’d be remiss not to dedicate this article to Ken White, a lawyer with an enormous Twitter following who practices criminal defense, as well as First Amendment work where he defends clients in defamation cases. In one tweet, Ken dismissed me and my last article based solely on it being published by The Federalist. Kudos, First Amendment lawyer, kudos to you.