Every time I see Michael Avenatti on TV, I keep on wondering whether he’s Jacoby or Meyers.
Given the big leagues that he’s playing in, Avenatti is a veritable ambulance chaser — and it shows. Aside from personal attacks on the president, he seems woefully unprepared as a litigator. While Stormy Daniels ought to be grateful that the media loves him, she still needs to face the fact that this isn’t the kind of lawyer you want to go to court with. That’s doubly true when the collected legal forces of the president are sitting at the other side of the courtroom.
Mike Huckabee isn’t impressed, either. In an opinion piece posted to his website, the former governor of Arkansas and father of White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders asked an important question about Avenatti’s latest information regarding payments made to President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen: Namely, where did he get the information?
Huckabee also pointed out that Avenatti made a critical mistake by identifying payments made to another lawyer with a similar name.
“I’m not going to delve too deeply into the current media feeding frenzy over alleged payments made by various foreign companies to President Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, other than to remind some of the hysterical reporters that Cohen has other clients besides Trump and it is not illegal for private attorneys in America to do business with foreign companies,” Huckabee wrote.
“To me, the most interesting news thus far stems from a dumb mistake made by porn star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer and CNN’s latest full-time on-air personality, Michael Avenatti,” he continued. “He released a list of companies that allegedly made payments to Cohen, but it turned out two of the payments were to a different Michael Cohen, who apparently did perfectly legitimate work for the companies.”
“But that caused inquiring minds to want to know: how did the New York Times and a porn star’s lawyer obtain copies of a private citizen’s private banking records that were seized by federal agents who are supposedly entrusted with insuring their privacy?”
Huckabee had a theory — and it was a profoundly dispiriting one.
“This attempt to smear Cohen boomeranged by spurring the Treasury Department’s Inspector General to open an investigation into whether someone in the FBI illegally leaked Cohen’s private data to the media and the attorney,” Huckabee continued.
“If so, then it should answer all those questions about whether the agency can be trusted to keep any seized, protected attorney-client privilege communications private (answer: ‘NO!’) The next question should be whether, when the feds seized all those records from Michael Cohen, were they at the address of the right Michael Cohen?”
That may be a funny thought at the end, but the rest of it should give any American pause. If someone at the FBI is leaking information about Cohen for political reasons, that just reinforces the worst preconceptions that conservatives might have.
That’s not the only problem with the information Avenatti leaked. As Mark Penn at The Hill noted, it raises issues about who exactly is paying for the lawyer, especially since Daniels has confirmed it isn’t her.
Penn said that the “release of a ‘report’ by Avenatti also raises the question of where and how did he get this detailed financial information because he didn’t find it on Google.”
“This is the kind of information that would have been known only by the Treasury Department, his banks or by prosecutors, raising some serious questions about what kind of operation Avenatti is running,” Penn wrote. “Is there a team of people digging this up? Are they paying off sources? Is Fusion GPS involved? Are there political donors behind making this campaign work? He can’t be both an attorney and then participate as an officer of the court in trafficking illegally obtained information.”
“Avenatti has been given a free, unfettered media perch on TV to spread his stuff without the networks forcing him to meet any disclosure requirements, saying that he is Daniels’s attorney when someone else entirely is paying for this operation is not true disclosure that allows the viewer to evaluate the source and potential conflicts,” he added.
There is a lot that’s strange about Avenatti, and it isn’t just confined to his ramblings on CNN. It’s time we got some real answers about who’s paying him and where his information is coming from.
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