In November 2018, when Michael Avenatt’s firm was evicted from its expensive ocean-view law offices in Newport Beach, California, you kind of wondered how far the man could fall.
The final eviction notice came just days after he was accused of domestic violence.
It was two months after the moment which signaled the beginning of the end for Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer — his representation of Julie Swetnick, a woman who made wild accusations of gang-rape and drugging against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
And yet, as Avenatti’s firm was kicked out of the building for non-payment of $213,254 in rent, according to the Los Angeles Times, he was still talking about running for president.
Avenatti is now a jailbird, having been convicted in February of trying to extort athletic-wear giant Nike for $25 million over alleged improprieties involving collegiate athletes.
“I think he’s in a bit of a state of shock,” Avenatti attorney Danya Perry told reporters after the conviction, according to CNBC. “But he’s a fighter, as you all know, and he’s staying strong.”
He’d better be.
He’s locked up in New York City’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, the last known earthly home of Jeffrey Epstein and a significantly different set of digs than his former law offices.
In fact, it’s bad enough that Avenatti attorney Scott Srebnick wants a 30-day delay in a pre-sentencing interview because of health concerns — including COVID-19 transmission.
According to the New York Post, Srebnick complained of the unsanitary conditions in a letter to a New York judge.
“Mr. Avenatti’s cell was infested with rats. The jail reeks or urine. As of yesterday, Mr. Avenatti had not shaved in weeks. Meanwhile, across the country, public officials are declaring states of emergency as a result of the spread of the coronavirus,” the letter read.
“Health officials are uncertain of the actual risks. And, by all accounts, a prison facility poses among the highest risks of spread of infection.
“Given the uncertainty regarding the coronavirus, the ease with which it spreads, and the documented unsanitary conditions at the MCC-New York, I am requesting that the … background interview be adjourned,” he added.
Avenatti is in the Manhattan jail for the foreseeable future.
He has a pre-sentencing hearing in June.
He also has another federal case in Manhattan, this time for allegedly defrauding Stormy Daniels, the former adult film star and alleged Trump paramour who turned out to be Avenatti’s meal ticket.
The MCC is a genuinely ghastly place and a blight on the reputation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons; it’s impossible to take joy in Avenatti’s stay there.
Even if the disgraced lawyer’s privations were blandished by his counsel, those familiar with the jail know it’s a 19th-century nightmare of Dickensian proportions.
That said, it’s impossible to stress how complete Avenatti’s fall from grace has been — and how completely everyone who wanted to fell for his act.
Avenatti became omnipresent right about the time the left decided the best way to cantilever Trump out of the Oval Office involved nabbing him on alleged campaign finance violations.
These involved payments he made during the campaign, albeit with his personal money, to obtain non-disclosure agreements from women who accused him of having affairs with them.
Enter Avenatti, flamboyant and omnipresent, seemingly popping up on CNN and MSNBC at will, as if he were a man who had a personal Hyperloop between the two studios.
According to NewsBusters, the two cable networks gave the lawyer no less than 230 interviews in a year.
Avenatti himself became the story, which was a problem for Daniels, considering the left has the attention of a gnat and the campaign finance angle didn’t quite work out for them.
He found more ways of getting himself in the media eye, including floating a run for the presidency.
This was taken seriously by cable news media. A man who shot to fame as Stormy Daniels’ lawyer was suddenly seen at the border protesting familial separation or in Iowa for reasons it didn’t take too long to suss out.
The mainstream media ate it up.
Yet, in this August 2018 segment from MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House,” panelists were mostly convinced this was something to be taken seriously.
“If they decide they value a fighter most, people would be foolish to underestimate Michael Avenatti,” host Nicolle Wallace said.
“You look at the field of Democrats right now, and Avenatti’s the one who stands out. He’s the one who’s not a politician,” Philip Rucker, no less than The Washington Post’s White House bureau chief, opined.
“If he gives the base what they’re looking for and shows that he can go toe-to-toe with Trump, he’d have a chance.”
If you thought Marianne Williamson was entertaining, just imagine what Avenatti would have been like on the debate stage.
Alas, that wasn’t to be.
Avenatti’s downfall began in September 2018 with the strange case of Julie Swetnick, the third woman to officially allege Brett Kavanaugh sexually abused her during his contentious confirmation hearings.
It quickly became apparent that Swetnick’s claims were outlandish, and even Democrats, who had tolerated Avenatti’s act thus far, began to turn on him, claiming Swetnick had hurt their chances to torpedo the Supreme Court nominee.
Then came the domestic violence allegations that November (no charges were ever filed) and the eviction notice.
Stormy Daniels would eventually turn on him, as would the media.
It’s not that I take joy in the fact that Avenatti has been reduced to an apparently unshaven state in a rat-infested jail that his lawyer says is a coronavirus breeding ground. It’s that this was all so predictable.
From the start, Avenatti’s stoat-like visage should have tipped viewers off to the fact they were watching one of the most unctuous cultural ambulance chasers in recent memory.
Even after early profiles noted he was a bit of a bounder in his private life and spent money as fast as it came in — particularly money earmarked for Stormy Daniels’ legal case — nobody seemed to mind.
Look! There’s Avenatti on CNN again! I love that oily wit and pugnacious attitude! #Basta, President Trump! Right.
And look how that ended — how any clear-eyed person could have predicted it would have. Perhaps a bit lower than one might have expected, but the disgrace and penury were always part of the equation for those who cared to look.
Whatever the case, it’s a long way from Newport Beach.
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