Heck, “brazen and egregious” was practically Michael Avenatti’s career slogan. News outlets like CNN used Avenatti’s brazen and egregious tactics to push him as a presidential contender at one point. And Avenatti did get another four years today, but that’s in the Big House rather than the White House:
Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing nearly $300,000 from his former client, adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
District Judge Jesse Furman said Avenatti’s conduct was “so brazen and egregious” adding he “took advantage of a vulnerable victim given her unorthodox career and somewhat unorthodox beliefs.”
Avenatti was convicted in February of one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. He faced as much as 20 years on the wire fraud charge and a mandatory two-year sentence for aggravated identity theft.
That four-year sentence comes in between Avenatti’s criminal trials. He already has a 30-month sentence in place, and will face even more time for allegedly embezzling from other clients:
Avenatti is currently serving a 30-month prison sentence for attempting to extort over $20 million from Nike by threatening to go public with damaging information unless they paid him. He goes on trial next month in California on charges alleging that he embezzled $10 million in settlement funds from at least five clients. He has also been charged with tax fraud and bankruptcy fraud and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Oddly enough, CNN doesn’t mention its role in Avenatti’s relentless self-promotion in 2017 and 2018. It also doesn’t mention Avenatti’s nutty promotion of Julie Swetnick and her insane allegations against Brett Kavanaugh as the leader of a rape gang, which were briefly swallowed whole by national media outlets. An updated version of the CNN report notes that “Avenatti rose to fame” as Daniels’ attorney, but never mentions their part in his rise.
NBC News also mentions Avenatti’s alternate career as a pundit with an equally curious omission:
Avenatti was once one of cable television’s most prolific pundits, regularly appearing on news shows to speak for Daniels and criticize then-President Trump, who was accused of paying hush money to the former actor.
What NBC does not mention is that Avenatti appeared on their own cable-news channel MSNBC at least 43 times as of May 2018, and plenty of times afterward. CNN hosted Avenatti 65 times in the same period, and again often later when Avenatti insinuated himself into the Kavanaugh witch hunt. When it came to attacking Donald Trump and Kavanaugh, national media outlets didn’t worry about “brazen and egregious.” In fact, they delighted in it.
Today, there are plenty of voices ridiculing the Washington Post for running the defamatory essay by Amber Heard and only waiting until now to correct it. That’s certainly worthy of criticism, but let’s not miss the forest for a single tree. The promotion of Avenatti into a national hero by media is far more embarrassing and far more damaging to the credibility of these outlets than the single decision to publish Heard’s apparently false #MeToo screed. We should never let these media outlets forget how they foisted this fraud onto the public.