- Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti was convicted Friday on all charges related to his scheme to extort millions from Nike.
- Over the years, the media has praised Avenatti and pushed the idea of a possible presidential run, despite his numerous legal issues.
- CNN, MSNBC, ABC and other news outlets had the now-convicted felon on numerous times over the past few years.
Over the years, the media has tried hard to paint celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, now a convicted felon, as a star who could take down President Donald Trump.
This idea appeared to buckle on Friday when Avenatti was convicted on three charges related to his scheme to extort over $20 million from the sportswear and apparel company Nike. Despite his legal issues, Avenatti has received both face time and praise from CNN, MSNBC, ABC and other media outlets.
A Media Research Center study from 2018 found that Avenatti, who gained notoriety when he represented porn star Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against Trump, was featured on CNN 74 times over the course of just 10 weeks. MSNBC came in second with 57 interviews during the time period. (RELATED: CNN Hosts Avenatti 59 Times In Two Months)
On broadcast and cable news shows in totality, he appeared 147 times, the study also found. The 2018 study further dissected the media’s obsession with Avenatti and found that MSNBC featured him seven times in one day.
Many of the networks even pushed for his possible 2020 presidential run, peddling the idea that Avenatti could be the man to take down Trump.
“Looking ahead to 2020, one of the reasons why I’m taking you seriously as a [2020 presidential] contender is because of your presence on cable news,” CNN’s Brian Stelter told Avenatti on air in 2019.
ABC’s “The View” co-host Joy Behar also felt like Avenatti could take down Trump. She once thanked him for “saving the country.” Behar appeared distraught in March 2019 after Avenatti was arrested by the FBI over the Nike debacle.
“My first reaction is rather sadness, to tell the truth,” Behar lamented. “Because here was a guy who brought Stormy Daniels to us, which informed us that Trump had paid hush money to keep her quiet about what he had did with her while he was married with Melania and she was having a baby. And so, it was good, I liked it.”
“I thought, ‘Oh, good, we have somebody here who is going to tell some of the truth about this criminal that we have running this country.’ So I’m sad that this is all happening now. Because I know Trump will use it against him to glorify himself and to make himself look better. So I don’t like it. I don’t like it.”
Other co-hosts on “The View” expressed their admiration for Avenatti as well. Former co-host Ana Navarro said he was “like the Holy Spirit” when he spoke to them on the show in 2018. Behar added during that segment that Avenatti was “the only person Donald Trump fears more than Robert Mueller.”
“A lot of people have approached me and suggested that I run for president,” Avenatti told Behar, furthering the media frenzy over his attempt to take down Trump.
Comedian Bill Maher even chimed in, prefacing an Avenatti appearance by describing him as “Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.” MSNBC contributor Eddie Glaude back in May 2018 called the lawyer “a beast” who “keeps popping Donald Trump and all of his folks in the mouth.”
“I am intrigued, I’m excited, I’m scared, I’m a little grossed out,” MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle added during that segment. “And you know what? I owe Michael Avenatti an apology. For the last few weeks, I’ve been saying, ‘Enough, already, Michael, I’ve seen you everywhere. What do you have left to say?’ I was wrong, brother. You have a lot to say.”
“The Democrats could learn something from you. You are messing with Trump a lot more than they are.”
Avenatti is facing numerous other legal issues as well. He was accused in May 2019 of committing fraud and aggrieved identity theft related to Daniels, whom he allegedly stole $300,000 in book proceeds from. He’s also facing accusations in California that he stole settlement funds from a client.
The disgraced lawyer was also arrested for domestic abuse in November 2019.