Avenatti: FYI, there's a sensational new tabloid story out involving Stormy and the police. But maybe it's not true.

Are Alex Griswold and I wrong to read this as a thinly veiled attempt by Avenatti to promote a story that’s damaging to his own client?

Avenatti would say no, of course. To the contrary, he’s protecting his client by warning the public that this report at the Blast claiming that a police report was filed last night might be wrong. But you can’t read his tweet in isolation; less than 24 hours ago Stormy publicly all but accused him of stealing money from her legal defense fund and filing lawsuits in her name without her approval. And the Blast story was sufficiently obscure that I hadn’t heard of it before his tweet piqued my curiosity and made me go looking for it.

Which was the point, right? It’s payback by Avenatti to Stormy for yesterday. If not, why not wait to tweet about it until after he’d confirmed with the police whether or not a report had been filed?

It gets worse. I didn’t see it but apparently his original version of the tweet actually named the Blast, helpfully alerting his followers where the Stormy story could be found.

Weird that a supremely media-savvy lawyer like Avenatti would make a basic PR mistake like naming the source of a damaging report that wasn’t yet already circulating in the media. He must have gotten an earful from his Twitter fan base to make him delete it and replace it with the vaguer version.

I’m open to the argument that he’s on the level here and that his critics are being unfair in reading ulterior motives into his tweets. The Blast story had already been published, he was responding to it on behalf of his client, simple as that. But under the circumstances, with Daniels having just accused him of speaking on her behalf without her approval and warning that she might not continue with him as her lawyer (“I haven’t decided yet what to do about legal representation moving forward”), it’s strange that he continues to speak on her behalf at all at the moment. Did Stormy authorize this morning’s tweet? If not, why isn’t Avenatti clamming up about her affairs until she decides whether to keep him on or not?

Oh, by the way:

Two crowdfunding pages created by Stormy Daniels’ attorney are under review after The Daily Beast revealed one donation campaign was created without her permission. On Wednesday evening, the website Crowdjustice removed a new fundraiser Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti had launched to amass funds for her court battle with President Trump and his former fixer, Michael Cohen…

Crowdjustice is also reviewing a fundraiser Avenatti created to help families at the Mexican border that raised $159,863. It was billed as a campaign on behalf of “a group of detained mothers and children,” but doesn’t specify the names of the beneficiaries.

Exit question: Who tipped off the Blast to the threats allegedly made by Stormy’s husband against her business partners?

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