President Trump blasted Michael Avenatti, both in a live event and on Twitter, calling him a “third-rate lawyer.” Avenatti sent his own tweet declaring “Trump is a moron,” and that Avenatti was “thoroughly enjoying living rent free in his head.” In addition to their no holds barred style on Twitter, these two have some remarkable similarities.
After high school in Missouri, now 47-year-old Avenatti attended the University of Pennsylvania and then headed to D.C. for law school at George Washington. During his time at both schools, he worked for The Research Group, a “political opposition research and media firm” run by then-future Obama chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. While he seems eager to return to D.C. now, after graduation, he headed for Tinseltown.
His law school career was successful enough for a good start in most areas of the law. He chose celebrity law. He worked for Daniel Petrocelli, a lawyer known for working with the famous at one of the largest law firms in L.A., O’Melveny & Myers. After a few years there, he moved to a new firm, where he lists among his accomplishments:
“[A] successful idea theft lawsuit involving the reality show The Apprentice and its producer, Mark Burnett, as well as Donald Trump.”
That’s the first mention of Avenatti’s bête noire in his bio. He started his own firm (Eagan Omalley & Avenatti) in 2007 and proceeded to be very successful in obtaining high-dollar judgments for his clients. In April 2017, for instance, he won a $454 million verdict against a company that did not warn customers its surgical gowns were less protective than advertised. That jury award was for four million in compensatory damages and four hundred million in punitive damages. While that judgment was reduced considerably because courts routinely disallow such a gap between punitive and compensatory damages, it is very informative. Avenatti is a remarkably successful persuader. Know anyone else that applies to?
Another similarity between the two is their mothlike attraction to the flame of publicity. Both seek it out like a baby to the breast. Avenatti proclaims this as a benefit for his clients, noting the media attention on his site:
“Michael often works closely with the press and media in connection with his legal practice – an area in which most lawyers falter and under-utilize.”
Like another famous person mentioned in this piece, Mr. Avenatti has had multiple public business disasters resulting in numerous instances of litigation, contractors and employees not getting paid, and different bankruptcies (none personal, just like The Donald). He was business partners with Patrick Dempsey yes, the one who sued him for defrauding McDreamy of money in a business deal for a West coast chain called Tully’s Coffee. None of that stopped Avenatti’s high spending lifestyle, which included a private jet and pilot. His divorce papers state his monthly expenses run about $40,000 and that his wife’s are about $25,000.
Avenatti’s 2011 marriage to Lisa-Storie Avenatti ended when Michael filed for divorce last year. They have one child together, a son. She kicked him out of the house and changed the locks. Literally. He took his daughter from his previous marriage to the house to act as a “witness” against Lisa. Turbulent personal history with multiple children, and multiple failed marriages. Hmm. Who else does that …
President and Wannabe
Donald Trump flirted and threatened to run for president for years, decades even, before his stunning victory in November of 2016. Avenatti says he will run if no one else good enough does on the Democrat side. I would take that ambiguity with a big grain of salt. His “pinned” tweet, the one at the top of the page above all others, is not about Stormy Daniels or Brett Kavanaugh; it’s a manifesto for his campaign:
“Below is an updated summary of where I stand on over 20 key issues. This is not an exhaustive list; more positions and details will follow. I am pleased to report that I still have not had to take a poll or hire a political consultant to tell me what to say or what to believe.”
He’s also been to Iowa, a must first stop for Presidential candidates. Yep, the only way they could be more similar if they were both definitely on the ticket for President in 2020. For both, that remains uncertain.