A half-million dollars is a lot of money to most Donald Trump supporters.
But for the lawyer who’s making a household name for himself representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her tangles with the president, it’s apparently barely a start.
And Michael Avenatti isn’t shy about begging for more.
In a Twitter posting published Monday, Avenatti sounded as desperate as a guy shaking the couch for change for bus fare to get to work.
This promises to be a very busy week but our effort does not run itself. There are numerous expenses associated with cases like this and here, security costs alone are astronomical. We are short of our goal and need some help. Please go to https://t.co/lEHuXf9Ydk #Basta
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) June 4, 2018
“This promises to be a very busy week but our effort does not run itself,” he wrote. “There are numerous expenses associated with cases like this and here, security costs alone are astronomical. We are short of our goal and need some help.”
The desperate tone, and the pleading end of “We are short of our goal and need some help,” makes it sound like the Stormy Daniels legal team is flat broke. But the CrowdJustice website Avenatti and Daniels are using to raise money showed about $567,000 had been raised as of Tuesday afternoon. (Out of a goal of $850,000.)
Considering that should be plenty to keep Avenatti going through his whirlwind schedule of courtroom arguments and television appearances, the fact that he’s tweeting out pleas for more cash now sounds just a little bit suspicious.
It doesn’t help Avenatti’s case that he’s somewhat inconsistent about where he will accept money from.
“Mr. Avenatti contacted an official in the network of liberal groups led by David Brock, while someone associated with Mr. Avenatti’s law firm was in touch with two people connected to major Democratic donors, according to people familiar with the conversations,” The Times reported.
“But the discussions do not appear to have led to any financial help for the high-profile legal and public relations fight being waged by Mr. Avenatti and Ms. Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels.”
The same day, the legal news website Law&Crime reported that Avenatti claimed he’d refused a substantial amount of money from sources associated with the Republican Party who had their own reasons for trying to hurt Trump.
“We have turned down over $200,000 from Republican donors looking to harm the President,” Avenatti told Law&Crime (he also denied the New York Times report).
Maybe that’s actually true. Maybe Avenatti is part of that rare breed of lawyers whose motives are pure as the driven snow and he doesn’t want his reputation tainted by political money. (The fact that his best-known client is a woman whose sole claim to fame is essentially prostitution in front of a camera shouldn’t matter one bit.)
And maybe that half-million dollars he and Stormy Daniels have raised on Crowd Justice really isn’t enough to keep a bare-bones legal case going.
But it would be wise to remember that Avenatti is a guy with a documented history of money problems, and that there are some big questions about the money behind his legal operations on Daniels’ behalf.
Given all that, it seems just possible that Avenatti knows that both he and Daniels are rapidly wearing out their fabled 15 minutes of fame in American public life, and they’re trying to raise as much money as they can, as quickly as they can, before that clock finally expires.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.