Unimaginable. Not that he can’t afford counsel; that was foreseeable given his widely publicized financial difficulties.
What’s unimaginable is a guy with an ego this enormous declining to represent himself in court in the firm belief that he can beat the pants off of any federal prosecutor in America. That’s a shocking display of good judgment in the face of overweening narcissism.
In related news, Trump supporters are at risk of clinically overdosing on schadenfreude before this week ends.
Avenatti is "financially unable to employ counsel" and will be represented by Federal Defenders.
Ironic that he will be better represented than his clients. https://t.co/jCVSDBoQUQ
— Scott Greenfield (@ScottGreenfield) March 27, 2019
“Isn’t Avenatti worth millions,” you’re thinking, “notwithstanding his money troubles?” Funny you should ask. The IRS had the same question.
[T]he Internal Revenue Service claims Avenatti reported $1.9 million in personal income in 2009 but didn’t pay $570,000 in taxes. The following year, he didn’t pay his $282,000 tax bill after reporting income of $1.2 million. According to prosecutors, Avenatti hasn’t filed a single income tax return since, despite depositing $18 million into various bank accounts associated with him.
“During these tax years, Avenatti generated substantial income and lived lavishly,” IRS investigator Remoun Karlous, an IRS criminal investigator, was quoted by the L.A. Times as saying in his sworn statement.
Some of Avenatti's purchases while not paying taxes, per @latimes: "217,000 at Neiman Marcus; $117,000 at Jewelers on Time, a luxury watch store; $277,236 to Porsche dealers; $100,000-a-month rent for a waterfront house on Lido Isle in Newport Beach" https://t.co/Y776uQO22w
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) March 27, 2019
“How was this man allowed to buy a coffee business and run a law firm without paying income taxes for ten straight years?” asks Derek Thompson of the Atlantic. You would think he could afford counsel just by selling one of his watches.
Job one for the public defender will be trying and failing to convince Avenatti to shut that fat yapper of his until the criminal charges against him are settled. Good luck with that, muses Ken White: “Since his arrest, he has been furiously tweeting and speaking. He’s denounced Nike, accused it of the crimes he threatened to publicize, and proclaimed his innocence. No defense attorney would recommend such a display: It’s almost certain to make it easier for the government to prove its case. But it’s unlikely that any lawyer could restrain Avenatti from being Avenatti.” All the more reason why I’d expect him to represent himself. Imagine Avenatti trying to take orders from anyone to keep quiet.
One mystery in all this: Was his alleged attempt at a payday from Nike tied directly to his other financial problems? He had to place his old law firm in receivership last month after he was accused of hiding millions from the bankruptcy court; he may be expecting a lawsuit from Stormy Daniels, who’s been warning that Avenatti was “extremely dishonest” with her; he may also have known that the IRS was sniffing around his income taxes. He owes, and/or may soon owe, a lot of people a lot of money. Maybe he thought he could pay off all of his creditors, current and future, via a single massive shakedown of a big corporation, one big bank heist to clear the decks and start fresh. Everyone who’s read the charging instrument filed against him has wondered how he could have failed to realize that he was being recorded when Nike’s lawyers asked him to repeat his demands a second time. Possibly he was too desperate to think clearly.
I’ll leave you with this, just to tie up Mueller/Avenatti week in a little bow.
NEWS: Among Democratic voters across the nation, "Michael Avenatti’s alleged handsomeness” was a more popular topic than Mueller or impeachment, @JoshuaGreen reports https://t.co/DhWLWeXLcc pic.twitter.com/zKtSobYoSs
— Mike Nizza (@mikenizza) March 26, 2019