As high profile as Michael Avenatti has been, it was inevitable that push back would come. None other than Fox News initiated opposition research unearthing tax liens against a chain of coffee shops Avenatti used to own. Avenatti ascribed the lien to “payroll companies who failed to do their job.” Other accounts have drawn attention to the bankruptcy of his former law firm to which Avenatti has replied, “I’m not a candidate for public office or a party to the lawsuits against Mr. Trump, Who cares?” Washington Post:
Yet, in some quarters, Avenatti has become a subject of escalating suspicion. Mark Penn, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, last week asked in the Hill publication whether Avenatti is truly representing his client as a lawyer or “just using her as cover to wage a political operation.” Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked the same question on her show, all but accusing Avenatti of acting as a Democratic operative.
Avenatti responded forcefully on Twitter, saying he is paid only by Daniels and a crowdfunding campaign that has raised more than $485,000. “No political party or PAC is funding this effort. No left wing conspiracy is behind this. And no big fat cat political donors are leading the charge,” he wrote. “Get over it.”
Michael Cohen is trying to block Avenatti from representing Stormy Daniels in New York State, a question which will be left to Judge Kimba Wood to decide.
Last week, Cohen said that because Avenatti published his private banking transactions, he should not be permitted to represent Daniels in a federal court in New York. Daniels is seeking to intervene in the case, which involves material seized by the FBI in an April 9 raid of Cohen’s office and residences. The raid captured records relating to a $130,000 payment Cohen made to Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to secure her silence about her alleged affair with Trump.
In an interview, Avenatti rejected the notion that he has gone too far, saying that he acts in the best interest of his client and that the strategy is working.
“I don’t think we’ve taken a risky approach at all,” Avenatti said. “We’ve been aggressive, but I also think we’ve been strategic and thoughtful, and without that approach, we wouldn’t be where we are now. We’ve created a situation where the other side continues to make mistake after mistake.”
Avenatti has of course been criticized for seeking the spotlight and making himself a part of the story. The inevitable comparison to Donald Trump, who makes everything about himself, has been made, to which Avenatti replies, [that’s] “absolutely outrageous.”
“Trump is about form over substance. I may appreciate form, but I also have a hell of a lot of substance,” he said. “Maybe in some ways I have the approach they thought they were getting when they voted for him. . . . Thus far, I don’t think there’s any question as to who has had the better of the fight.”
So a modern day fairy tale continues to play itself out. Will justice prevail and a mere mortal of the realm be able to topple the evil ruler?
“If the president is, quote, taken down, unquote, he will have no one to blame but himself and Michael Cohen,” Avenatti said. “I do not think the president will serve out his term.”
From his lips to God’s ear.