Earlier this year, CNBC’s American Greed aired a profile on Avenatti that leaves no doubt that the man once celebrated as “America’s Lawyer” is a fraud. The show includes audio of Avenatti threatening to hold a press conference exposing Nike’s misdeeds unless Nike paid him an additional $25 million on top of the $1.5 million it was willing to pay an AAU coach. He was openly bragging that he could potentially slash Nike’s market capitalization by $5-6 billion in one stroke.
He also faces multiple federal indictments in Manhattan and Los Angeles for fleecing money from Stormy Daniels and several other clients. One of the most gut-wrenching stories involves Geoffrey Johnson, who was left paralyzed after a suicide attempt while behind bars in Los Angeles County for a crime he didn’t commit. Avenatti sued the county in 2012 and won a $4 million settlement. However, he sucked down the proceeds of the settlement for his own benefit.
The American Greed profile also details how Avenatti saddled Seattle-based coffee shop chain Tully’s with massive debt, and skimmed off millions of payroll taxes. He reportedly vanished from Tully’s soon after taking Daniels’ case, leaving it in ruin. It also reveals that Avenatti was drowning in red ink at the time he gained national prominence; his law firm was struggling to pay its bills and had just been evicted from its Newport Beach offices, and he’d just been ordered to cough up $1.9 million in spousal and child support to his second wife in a divorce settlement.
All of this makes a request for leniency that he made through his lawyers sound patently insulting.
Michael Avenatti’s “epic fall and public shaming” has made him a pariah relentlessly mocked by former President Donald Trump’s supporters, his lawyer writes in new papers, asking he receive a six-month sentence for trying to shake down Nike of more than $20 million. […]
“Avenatti’s epic fall and public shaming has played out in front of the entire world … Avenatti’s cataclysmic fall has been well-documented. He is openly mocked by the former President of the United States and his preferred media outlets, to the glee of millions of the former President’s followers and supporters,” Avenatti attorney Scott Srebnick wrote. “He cannot go anywhere in public without inducing and subjecting himself to vitriolic comments and abuse.”
Additionally, federal sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 11 to 14 years; He faces a maximum of 40 years.
It’s rather ironic that Avenatti says the ridicule he has endured from Trump supporters should be a mitigating factor, because this filing sounds downright Trumpian. Go easy on me because people have been so mean to me? Come off it, Michael. You engaged in what can charitably be described as a shakedown—to the detriment of your client.
And remember how Avenatti injected himself into the Brett Kavanaugh hearings? He claimed that he had a sworn statement that would corroborate claims by one of his clients, Julie Swetnick, that Kavanaugh had a habit of spiking drinks, then giving them to girls so they could be gang-raped. However, the person who supposedly made that declaration subsequently told NBC News that she had never seen Kavanaugh engage in this behavior, and claimed Avenatti had twisted her words. That stunt may have contributed to the right going to the mattresses for Kavanaugh.
In hindsight, it looks like this incident revealed who Avenatti really was. More and more, it seems that the real Avenatti isn’t the man crusading against Trump in a “battle for the soul of America,” but the unethical shakedown artist portrayed on that wiretap.