The Slatest

We’re About to Find Out Whether Michael Avenatti Is Full of It

Avenatti against a red-carpet VMAs backdrop.
Michael Avenatti at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York City on Aug. 20.
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for MTV

Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti has a mixed record of reliability when it comes to splashy announcements. On the one hand, his claims that Donald Trump knew about the nondisclosure payment made to Daniels in 2016 and that the NDA in question was unenforceable have turned out to be correct. He was also the first person to publicize accurate claims about a series of sketchy corporate “lobbying” payments that were made to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

On the other hand, this July, Avenatti declared breathlessly that he had three other clients who received “hush money” from Trump, but he hasn’t subsequently revealed any other details about their alleged cases, even anonymously. And earlier in the year, Avenatti suggested in a TV appearance that Republican lobbyist Elliott Broidy’s admission that he’d paid NDA money to a Playboy Playmate named Shera Bechard was actually made in order to conceal someone else’s affair with Bechard—a suggestion that seemed to imply that the “someone else” in question was Trump.* That theory, later laid out explicitly in print by others, does not appear to be true.

Avenatti, in any case, is now saying he has a new client who is ready to make some sort of accusation related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

(Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford says Judge, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s, was present during her assault. He denies any knowledge of the incident.)

Avenatti told the Hill Monday that he “anticipate[s]” that this client will go public within the next two days but that he has not yet “finalized the details.”

One thing about celebrity lawyers is that they don’t necessarily suffer when a bold public claim they’ve made turns out not to be fully supported by the facts—in fact, such an event can still be a big win for them because it’s gotten them on TV, which makes them more famous, which means more potential clients have heard of them.

In summary, either Avenatti’s current claim will pan out and be newsworthy, or it won’t!

Correction, Sept. 25, 2018: This post originally misspelled Elliott Broidy’s first name.