Michael Avenatti’s attorney told a judge in New York today that President Trump was ultimately responsible for all of his legal troubles. The judge in his case did not appear to be impressed:

Avenatti has now formally blamed his opposition to Trump for separate indictments in California and New York, where he is accused of defrauding Stormy Daniels and extorting Nike. Steward told U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts today that both cases are vindictive.

“Vindictive?” Batts asked, incredulously.

Appearing taken aback, Batts added later: “This office is not known for being vindictive.”…

Steward suggested times have changed during the tenure of U.S. Attorney General William Barr, whom he called a “lapdog” for Trump.

“That may be,” Batts replied, before questioning what Barr had to do with the case…

Calling Avenatti’s vindictive prosecution claims “frivolous,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Sobelman predicted that the pending claims would fail in both courts.

After the hearing, Avenatti apparently held an impromptu press conference:

After the hearing, Avenatti said he was in the fight of his life while “the biggest criminal occupies the White House.”

“Welcome to Russia!” he said.

Okay, champ, maybe dial it back a little. I get that a lot of people hate Trump but does Avenatti really think they’ll believe absolutely anything he says, so long as it sounds nefarious? That seems to be the guiding principle of his defense. I guess you can’t blame him given that this same approach was a goldmine for him at CNN.

Judge Batts doesn’t seem to be taking the bait. She scheduled the trial for April. But first, Avenatti has to face the music in the Nike extortion case which starts next month. Also, last month a judge in California set his trial there for May. So Avenatti is going to be a very busy defendant for the next seven months. Stock up on popcorn now.