News & Politics

'Grade-A Scumbag': Ben Sasse Slams Michael Avenatti After Nike Conviction

Attorney Michael Avenatti leaves Manhattan Federal court, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

On Friday, lawyer Michael Avenatti — who infamously represented adult-film star Stormy Daniels in her defamation suit against President Donald Trump (how’d that work out for her?) — was convicted of trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike, which could land him in the slammer for up to 42 years. Avenatti also notoriously represented Julie Swetnik’s attempt to smear then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) rightly derided Avenatti in a strong statement.

“Michael Avenatti is a D-list attorney but a Grade-A scumbag,” Sasse said. “It’s hard to get airtime from the slammer, so Nike’s win is cable television’s loss. In the end, Michael Avenatti wasn’t a real attorney, he just played one on TV.”

Indeed, Avenatti has become a left-wing television celebrity. He appeared at least 108 times on MSNBC and CNN in a two-month period, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The appearances were the equivalent of $175 million for the disgraced lawyer.

As for his legal acumen, Avenatti’s lawsuit on behalf of Stormy Daniels (true name Stephanie Clifford) was dismissed, and Clifford was ordered to pay Trump $292,000 in attorney’s fees. Clifford accused him of dealing with her “extremely dishonestly.”

 

The lawyer has an extremely shady past. He has faced lawsuits for lying about financial matters with a partner and refusing to pay another former partner. Earlier this year, the State Bar of California investigated him for buying “a company out of bankruptcy and then [using] it for a ‘pump and dump’ scheme to deprive federal and state taxing authorities out of millions of dollars.”

Avenatti is indeed a “Grade-A scumbag.”

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.