After the Buzz: Avenatti, onetime cable star, convicted
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin posted a scathing letter his lawyer wrote to ex-liberal media darling and uber CNN guest Michael Avenatti, his former pal who he once likened to a “major, major celebrity.”
“[email protected], convicted criminal and America's worst lawyer, has threatened to sue me for my accurate portrayal of him and his nutty presidential campaign in’ True Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ Our lawyer's letter is below,” Toobin wrote to accompany the letter that was signed by Penguin Random House senior counsel Daniel Novack.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin posted a scathing letter his lawyer wrote to Ex-CNN regular guest Michael Avenatti.
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“I am counsel to Doubleday, the publisher of True Crimes and Misdemeanors by Jeffrey Toobin. I am writing in response to your August 11, 2020 letter claiming that Mr. Toobin’s book defames you. You request that Mr. Toobin and Doubleday correct several assertations in the book and publicly apologize to you,” the letter began before shredding Avenatti’s argument.
“As an initial matter, I understand from your website that you boast a great legal acumen. Nevertheless, few attorneys can claim to be a master of all trades, jack of none,” the snarky letter said. “Therefore, your lack of understanding of defamation law can be forgiven even if you just lost a defamation lawsuit.”
Novack then mocked Avenatti, saying he hoped the letter would help educate him on appropriate legal standards for asserting reputational harm. Novack then listed a variety of reasons why Avenatti’s claims don’t meet the legal standard for defamation.
“You assert that Mr. Toobin is not fit to judge you. While we should all take heed of the maxim that those who live in a glass house should not throw stones, legally speaking, we are all free to throw (metaphorical) stones. Or run for president,” Novack wrote, noting that Avenatti has “suspect legal judgment.”
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Avenatti did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The sharply worded letter contains other jabs at the ex-CNN regular, such as mocking his presidential run as a “crowning act of lunacy.”
Last February, a New York jury found Avenatti guilty on three counts, including extortion, wire fraud and transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort. Avenatti had been a regular on CNN, so Toobin explained to viewers he “got to know” Avenatti when the now-disgraced lawyer was a fixture on the liberal network but admitted he felt “snookered” after learning of his criminal behavior.
“I remember once at the peak of all of this, we went to lunch in Midtown, when our offices were in Midtown, and we walked back together to CNN, and it was like walking with a major, major celebrity,” Toobin told Anderson Cooper after Avenatti was found guilty. “People came up to him.”
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At the time, Toobin explained that Avenatti had floated the idea of a potential 2020 White House run at the height of his fame, visiting Iowa and New Hampshire to test the waters.
“To call it hubris … doesn't do it justice. I mean the craziness of this,” Toobin said. “When you look at this case and the three cases, he's 48 years old, he could be looking at decades in prison… the total collapse of his life is really sort of extraordinary. Frankly, I feel kind of snookered because I took him seriously.”
EX-CNN REGULAR MICHAEL AVENATTICONVICTED OF TRYING TO EXTORT NIKE
Back in 2018, a Media Research Center study revealed that Avenatti, who represented a porn star in a lawsuit against President Trump, appeared on CNN a whopping 74 times over a 10-week period and the network’s in-house media critic Brian Stelter famously declared he was a legitimate threat to challenge Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Attorney Michael Avenatti was on CNN 74 times during a 10-week period in 2018.
Stelter told Avenatti on air, "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.”
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At the height of Avenatti’s fame, he spent his rare time away from CNN’s greenroom partying with the network’s anchors while regularly appearing on late-night shows, MSNBC and “The View.”
Juanita Scarlett, a former aide to Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York and brother of CNN host Chris Cuomo, once tweeted — and then deleted – a photo of herself with Avenatti and another CNN host, Don Lemon, who apparently hosted a bash at his posh Hamptons home.
It’s unclear how many other CNN personalities were at Lemon’s “Sag Harbor soiree,” but it was clear Avenatti had a cozy relationship with the liberal network prior to his drastic fall from grace.
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CNN was even accused of downplaying Avenatti’s November 2018 arrest and Stelter once admitted critics “have a legit reason to dunk on me” when he chalked up omitting a negative story about Avenatti from his newsletter to a mix-up.
MRC analysts Bill D’Agostino and Rich Noyes wrote in 2018 that there was “no guest in CNN’s recent history who has been given as much free media exposure by the network as Avenatti” received.
Avenatti appeared on CNN and MSNBC a combined 229 times over two years, according to the Media Research Center.
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