Michael Avenatti could have had it all. He could have been a contender. He was on the verge of becoming a truly historic figure. It is no exaggeration to say that his face was destined to be carved out of the naked rock between Abe Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore. So what happened? How can one man – a lawyer, no less – go so quickly from being a breath away from the White House to a gasp away from the Big House?
There is, perhaps, no other individual in American history whose persona and life story evokes so many of the great tales and legends of human civilization. George Washington? Psssht! Rosa Parks? Puleez!
Michael Avenatti has them beat. He was a professional racecar driver, fer chrissakes! He had a private jet and a Ferrari. He portrayed himself as a plain-spoken and outspoken tough guy. He was Tony Stark without the metal suit – or maybe Gloria Allred with more estrogen.
The Man Who Would Be King
Ever since President Donald Trump came to power, the American left has been searching for a savior – a knight in shining armor who would ride in and vanquish the man they view as a usurper. Avenatti was that knight. The porn star known as Stormy Daniels was his trusty steed; the truth – or his version of it – was his lance and his own fearless determination, his sword.
Avenatti’s quest to remove Trump from the White House echoes the great journey of the Greek hero Odysseus, who sought to return to his homeland and drive the ill-mannered suitors of his wife from the palace of Ithaca. Or perhaps he was Little Red Riding Hood, exposing the big, bad wolf who devoured his granny and disguised itself in her clothes. Maybe he was David, destined to slay Goliath. Take your pick. The point is that Avenatti was, for a brief time, worshipped by the left as the underdog hero, come to slay the arch-villain.
At the End of the Passage
Back to life, back to reality, back to the here and now (so sue me, Soul II Soul): The story of Michael Avenatti has come to more closely resemble a country music ballad. He woke up one morning and his car was gone, his jet seized by the feds, his association with Daniels over. Rumor has it his dog died.
Facing no less than 36 criminal charges, our follically-challenged legal mastermind – who gained the enviable nickname of “Creepy Porn Lawyer” – continues to insist that he is completely innocent. “For 20 years, I have represented Davids vs. Goliaths and relied on due process and our system of justice,” Avenatti tweeted, indicating that he may have key-logged this author’s laptop. “Along the way, I have made many powerful enemies. I am entitled to a FULL presumption of innocence and am confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known.”
Debits and Credits
What, then, is the great man charged with? Without listing them all, let’s just say the crimes he is alleged to have committed include fraud, tax evasion, fraud, perjury, embezzlement, and fraud. While Avenatti deserves the due process he would never have extended to Trump or to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the case against him seems to indicate that he has never met anyone he did not steal money from and that there is hardly a financial law in the entire U.S. Code that he has not broken. A slightly exaggerated portrayal, perhaps, but – wow! – this guy is a one-man white-collar crime spree, according to the feds.
How About These Rudyard Kipling Subheadings?
With great aplomb, bombasity, and not a little sociopathic narcissism, this disgraced, quixotic conman (alleged) also took to Twitter to portray himself as Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena,” from the latter’s famous 1910 “Citizenship in a Republic” speech:
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again … but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause …“
Regardless of Avenatti’s fate, there are two life lessons here, dear reader: If you have a past that is spottier than a leopard eating a busload of teenagers on the way to the acne clinic, maybe don’t insert yourself into public life – especially not when that involves putting yourself at the center of a major political story. If you are looking for a way to crush your political enemies, perhaps avoid adopting, for your champion, a sleazy, loudmouthed attorney who has the moral compass of Charles Manson on his worst day.