The hits just keep on coming for Michael Avenatti. His stock has been dropping ever since the Kavanaugh hearings, and this week brought news that could lead him to federal prison. Let’s recap the rollercoaster last few weeks in the life of the man essentially no one knew about until earlier this year.
While Mr. Avenatti was spoken of for at least a decade in many stories surrounding his successful legal judgments, it wasn’t until March that he took the main stage in the social media/public affairs/celebrity mashup our republic has become. His Twitter followers, mentions across media, and time on television positively blew up after he filed the Stormy Daniels suit against Trump.
Through the summer, Avenatti had been steadily gaining traction from progressive corners and was the darling of the anti-Trump media set, spending oodles of time on CNN and MSNBC. He visited Iowa and New Hampshire and spoke of running for president. This author profiled him for LN in September. But that was before these past weeks. They have not been kind to the would-be Trumpslayer.
What A Difference A Day Makes
The last month saw him lose Stormy’s defamation suit against the president. The case was so bad the federal judge overseeing it decided that Ms. Daniels should pay for Trump’s legal defense. On October 22, Avenatti was ordered to pay 4.85 million dollars to Jason Frank, a former attorney with his firm. A Los Angeles based state judge, Dennis Landin, ruled that Avenatti personally guaranteed a settlement with Frank, who said the firm, Eagan Avenatti, misstated its profits and owed him millions. On the same day in Orange County, Judge Robert Moss ordered his former firm evicted from its Newport Beach offices for nonpayment of rent. But what you just read wasn’t the worst of Avenatti’s week.
Oh No He Didn’t!
Avenatti has plenty of cash, so while these judgments are no doubt unwelcomed by him, they are likely far from crushing. He also lost big on the political front this week after claiming that the Democrats need to nominate a white male for president for 2020 in an interview for Time.
“When you have a white male making the arguments, they carry more weight.”
“I think it better be a white male,” he said. He hastened to add that he wishes it weren’t so, but that it’s undeniable people listen to white men more than they do others; it’s why he has been successful representing Daniels and immigrant mothers, Avenatti claimed. “When you have a white male making the arguments, they carry more weight,” he says. “Should they carry more weight? Absolutely not. But do they? Yes.”
Perhaps Mr. Avenatti had a momentary lapse of reason and thought he was a Republican. In the land of the progressive left, you can’t say that sort of thing and get away with it. Context, nuance, tone, and meaning are all elements of a bygone era when examining speech. The mob of NPCs that make up Avenatti’s core constituency does not appreciate his justifications or distinctions. “It’s a f—— outrage,” he told Politico, claiming he was “misquoted and taken out of context.”
Such an explanation would surely be enough if he brought home the bacon. That is to say if Mr. Avenatti commanded the votes to defeat Trump, or more practically, through means of lawfare, were able to deal significant blows to Trump’s ability to advance his agenda or continue as president, then all sins could be forgiven. But Avenatti has been failing, and miserably so.
Julie Swetnick and the Gang Rapes
Mr. Avenatti attempted to derail the Kavanaugh confirmation with a wild claim that the then-esteemed federal judge was an organizing participant in a series of many gang-rapes at parties around Washington in his youth. Was it incompetence, malfeasance, or self-delusion to advance the claims of Julie Swetnick in the manner he did? In any case, many Democrats now think he is responsible, in whole or in part, for poisoning the well against the Kavanaugh opposition. They believe that Avenatti and Swetnick helped advance the confirmation rather than scuttle it. Those self-inflicted wounds may turn out to be penal, as well as political.
Thursday, October 25, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) referred Julie Swetnick and her attorney Michael Avenatti to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. From the committee’s announcement:
While the Committee was in the middle of its extensive investigation of the late-breaking sexual-assault allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Avenatti publicized his client’s allegations of drug and alcohol-fueled gang rapes in the 1980s. The obvious, subsequent contradictions along with the suspicious timing of the allegations necessitate a criminal investigation by the Justice Department.
An invitation to engage in a criminal investigation by the Republican Chairman of the Judiciary Committee to the DOJ is like an invitation from your boss to stop by their office. It’s less an invitation and more an order. For all the setbacks, judgments, and recriminations against him listed above, Mr. Avenatti has responses, as you can see on his Twitter feed. In one of many similarities between himself and President Trump, Avenatti is a profligate user of the microblogging platform. Exhibiting the true temperament of a litigator, Avenatti welcomed the investigation, challenging Grassley directly:
.@ChuckGrassley – let’s start the investigation tonight. I will make my client available for a sworn interview and you can make Judge Kavanaugh available for a sworn interview. We also have 9 other witnesses we want interviewed and specific documents we want requested. Let’s go.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) October 25, 2018
While it’s far from a foregone conclusion that a federal crime was committed here, it can never be a good thing for the FBI to conduct a criminal investigation of you. It’s stressful and inconvenient at best, and existentially awful at worst. We’ll have to wait and see which it is for Avenatti.