Was Avenatti set up?

An interesting tweet.


Jacob Wohl, huh? Wohl’s the young Trump superfan well known to MAGA Twitter who was accused two weeks ago of masterminding a stupendously moronic scheme to frame Bob Mueller for sexual misconduct. The outfit allegedly created by Wohl and used to push smears of Mueller was called Surefire Intelligence. Coincidentally, this tweet appeared last night after the Avenatti news:


Whether Wohl has anything to do with that Twitter account is unclear, although it’s worth noting that it began tweeting months before the Mueller scam was revealed. That is, it’s not a case of some enterprising prankster creating an account called “Surefire Intelligence” in the days after the scam made the news, to piggyback on the name’s notoriety. It existed beforehand, when the name Surefire was presumably known only to Wohl. Needless to say, even if it is Wohl’s account, only he knows if last night’s tweet was an earnest claim of responsibility for Avenatti’s situation or just some opportune lying to mess with another Trump enemy. And also needless to say, blaming Wohl is a convenient way for Avenatti to rally Trump-haters/Wohl-haters lefties to his side at a moment when their solidarity with him might otherwise waver.

Speaking of which:


The problem with the “Wohl set me up!” scenario is simple: How? How would Wohl have manufactured enough evidence to convince the LAPD to find probable cause of felony domestic violence involving not just an innocent man, not just a celebrity, but a celebrity litigator who’d sue the pants off of everyone and humiliate the department at length on television for falsely accusing him?

Remember, TMZ’s report about Avenatti’s arrest contained vivid details:

Our law enforcement sources say Avenatti was arrested Wednesday after a woman filed a felony DV report. We’re told her face was “swollen and bruised” with “red marks” on both cheeks

We’re told Wednesday afternoon the woman was on the sidewalk on her cellphone with sunglasses covering her eyes, sobbing and screaming on the phone, “I can’t believe you did this to me. I’m going to get a restraining order against you.”

We’re told security brought her inside the building, took her upstairs and Michael showed up 5 minutes later and ran into the building. He screamed repeatedly, “She hit me first.” We’re told he angrily added, “This is bulls***, this is f***ing bulls***.” We’re told he tried getting into the elevator but security denied him access.


Somehow “Jacob Wohl” seems to have convinced a major tabloid that deals with BS tips all the time that this was solid enough to run, and further convinced the LAPD to make an arrest on the basis of it. How’d he go from moron to evil genius in two weeks?

Also, note which section of the penal code the LAPD mentioned in its tweet. Section 273.5 deals specifically with violence committed against someone whom you know intimately:

(b) Subdivision (a) shall apply if the victim is or was one or more of the following:

(1) The offender’s spouse or former spouse.

(2) The offender’s cohabitant or former cohabitant.

(3) The offender’s fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship, as defined in paragraph (10) of subdivision (f) of Section 243.

(4) The mother or father of the offender’s child.

“Dating relationship” under Section 243 means “frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional or sexual involvement independent of financial considerations.” To charge him under Section 273.5, the police would need reason to believe not only that Avenatti inflicted “corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition” on someone but that, at a minimum, he had had a physical relationship with that person. Meaning that, even if you like the “set up by Jacob Wohl” theory here, pulling a random woman off the street and paying her to falsely claim she was assaulted by Michael Avenatti wouldn’t cut it. He would have had to find a woman whom Avenatti had been involved with and gotten her to agree.


I’d like to believe the LAPD would require more by way of proof before making a reputation-destroying arrest than a woman walking into the precinct with bruises and saying, “I date Michael Avenatti and he beat me up,” particularly knowing how super-charged the political animosities around Avenatti are. I’d like to. I think they’d demand more evidence. But defense lawyers with police horror stories are scowling at me through their computer screens right now so I’ll leave it at that.

Here’s Sean Hannity seizing on Avenatti’s predicament to score an easy lay-up about the presumption of innocence in the wake of the Julie Swetnick debacle. “I am a decent man,” insisted Avenatti on Twitter last night. You might be innocent but let’s not go overboard, buddy.

Update: Tiana Lowe notes that when it comes to celebrity men abusing women, the LAPD is not known for its alacrity in intervening. If they felt obliged to haul in Avenatti, odds are they had more to go on than Jacob Wohl whispering in their ear.

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