I’ve been saying for weeks to anyone who would listen that Michael Avenatti is an embarrassment to lawyers everywhere. His actions over the course of the last few months have been unprofessional, undignified, and perhaps even unethical. But now he’s crossed a new line: sending threatening emails to a journalist.
Yesterday, The Daily Caller published an article essentially recounting the legal and business troubles that followed after one of Avenatti’s companies purchased a Seattle coffee company. (This author wrote about it briefly back in April.)
The Daily Caller article seems fairly straightforward and is mostly a fact-based review of public records. The article does, however, cast Avenatti in a bad light because it recounts some of his past failures. It should not surprise you for a minute that someone like Avenatti does not want to be called out for his lack of success.
In response to the article, Avenatti fired off an email to one of its authors this morning. It’s a combination of hilarity and stupid mistakes. The subject line of the email is “Cut It Out.” Mistake number one. (Also, that’s just so silly.)
Aveantti opens the email by saying it was “Off The Record,” but that’s not a unilateral request, and clearly has no impact when sending a blistering, threatening email to a reporter. That’s mistake number two.
He threatens to sue for defamation, but doesn’t specify what he believes was defamatory in the article. He also threatens to seek damages against the reporters personally, and essentially orders the reporter to relay the message to President Trump: “I would tell Mr. Trump to find someone else to fabricate things about me.” (I laughed.)
He then clearly launches a threat when he writes: “If you think I’m kidding, you really don’t know anything about me. This is the last warning.” Mistake number three.
He closes the email with “All rights are expressly reserved.” That too is just funny. There really is not much more to say about ending an email with such empty, meaningless rhetoric.
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) May 14, 2018
I’ve written before about whether Avenatti’s disclosure of illegally leaked bank records violates the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California. This latest blunder might get the attention of the State Bar of California.
It seems fairly clear that Avenatti thinks he’s untouchable. He also has a serious lack of self-awareness if he thinks sending that email will actually prevent additional articles about his past failures from coming out.
Also, if he didn’t realize that the louder he got and the more boastful his proclamations became, that attention would shift to who exactly he is, he’s not nearly as smart as he thinks.
At the end of my last article, I prognosticated as follows: “Is Avenatti walking a tightrope and will his own big mouth be his downfall? It remains to be seen, but silly, unprofessional and possibly unethical behavior has a way of catching up with someone.” Maybe I am on to something?