Michael Avenatti, attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, appeared on “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon” Monday and accused The Daily Caller News Foundation of engaging in “character assassination” for running a story about his personal past.
The article in question was written by reporters Peter Hasson and Joe Simonson and is entitled: “With Avenatti In The Spotlight, His Own Questionable Past Emerges.” (RELATED: Michael Avenatti Says We’ve Only Just Begun)
It describes Avenatti’s business dealings as chaotic and claims he was embroiled in various lawsuits and bankruptcy issues throughout his career. Avenatti reportedly owed over $160,000 to a coffee wholesaler for supplying Avenatti’s coffee business with product and was ultimately sued by his former business partner and actor Patrick Dempsey. The article also referenced people who’ve “worked with Avenatti,” who described him as being obsessed with success.
“They want to argue about the legal issues related to the cases, fantastic. But let me tell you what’s not appropriate. What’s not appropriate is to engage in character assassination attempts aimed at either me or my client or our families, because you don’t like the facts and the evidence in the underlying cases and you don’t know how to address it,” Avenatti told Lemon. “So what you try to do is, you try to create diversions by mucking up the record and by bringing up all sorts of nonsense about our personal histories, our families, et cetera. That has no place in any of this.”
Hasson tweeted a message Avenatti sent him Monday, threatening to sue TheDCNF and its reporters for writing “lies” and “defamatory statements” about him. “If you think I’m kidding you really don’t know anything about me. This is the last warning,” the email read.
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) May 14, 2018
Lemon referenced Hasson’s tweet and asked Avenatti why he sent the message and requested it be off the record.
“All journalists are not ethical just because they’re journalists,” Avenatti replied. “There’s good journalists and there’s bad journalists. There’s ethical journalists and unethical journalists … If we encounter journalists who don’t get their facts straight by design, don’t follow basic standards of journalism, purposely skew stories to fit their own political dialogue and what they want their message to be, we’re going to continue to call them out on that.”
Lemon asked if it was hypocritical for Avenatti to criticize Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen for trying to intimidate a reporter after he sent the threatening email, but Avenatti thinks it would be absurd to compare his actions to Cohen’s.
“I think you’re talking apples and oranges,” Avenatti said. “My e-mail is no different than a cease and desist or retraction type e-mail or letter that is received by numerous media organizations on a consistent basis, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Let me tell you — the reason why I put off the record was because I was concerned that they were going to actually print it and I don’t think it has anything to do with the underlying case or the underlying facts or evidence of the case.”
“There’s nothing wrong with that e-mail that I sent,” Avenatti concluded. “And it is far different if you look at the level of communication and the dialogue, the words that are chosen — It’s far different than what we’ve seen from Michael Cohen, beyond threatening people’s families, threatening physical harm on them. You can’t compare what I sent to that.”
Despite accusing TheDCNF of unethical journalism and dishonesty, Avenatti didn’t specifically point out which aspects of the article were false.
TheDCNF reached out to Avenatti for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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