On Thursday, CNN’s “New Day” program brought on Michael Avenatti to talk about his new client Julie Swetnick and her allegation that Brett Kavanaugh was part of a group of serial gang rapists in high school.
However, rather than getting the typically warm reception that he is accustomed to on that network, Avenatti was instead faced with serious skepticism from co-host Alisyn Camerota as she repeatedly questioned the credibility of Swetnick and her story. According to NewsBusters [their emphasis]:
“The claims your client makes are draw dropping, and some of them frankly strain credulity. They don't make sense to me,” Camerota bluntly put it, asking the lawyer to explain to their audience why his client would continue to attend parties where alleged drunken groping and gang raping was going on:
“How is any of this possible? How is it possible that if she saw any of these things she would continue to go to house parties like this?” Camerota asked the obvious question. Avenatti bristled at being actually asked a real question for once.
“Well first of all, my client is 100 percent credible!” he snarled. Avenatti claimed he wanted an FBI investigation into Swetnick’s story, and he had offered the Senate committee to question his client in a committee hearing.
But Camerota pressed Avenatti again to answer her question. “Just to my question, why would she ever go back? Why did she go to ten of those house parties?”she asked.
At the end of the interview, Camerota once again challenged Avenatti by asking him to respond to a report from Politico detailing court-documented allegations that Swetnick once threatened to harm her ex-boyfriend, his wife, and the couple’s infant child. According to Politico, the ex-boyfriend felt the threats were serious enough to file a restraining order against Swetnick, but the matter was soon dropped due to his “non-ability to advance fees” to a lawyer.
Camerota directly quoted the ex-boyfriend from the Politico piece to get Avenatti’s reaction to the claims [emphasis mine]:
“Like you, we’re in the business of ‘more information is better.’ And so, it’s not about character assassination, it’s about, you know, painting a full picture. The guy who she was dating, her ex-boyfriend, gave this statement [Avenatti scoffs] to Politico, who says: ‘Right after I broke up with her, she was threatening my family, threatening my wife [and] threatening to do harm to my baby at that time. I know a lot about her. She’s not credible at all. Not at all.’
“And does that give you any pause Michael?”
“No, it gives me no pause at all,” Avenatti confidently declared before smearing the ex-boyfriend as a liar and a fraudster: “I know the history behind this man. He’s an absolute fraudster.He took her resume, got a job using her qualifications, was found out about it, was fired from that job, committed fraud against a number of other people, unbeknownst to her.”
Avenatti did not provide evidence to back up his assertions, but did try to support them by arguing that “it’s not unusual to have an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend say bad things about you.” Given that Avenatti had previously been accused by his wife of severe emotional abuse in the past (in sworn testimony that has since been recanted by her), it is not difficult to surmise where his personal attitude on this topic comes from.
However, at this point, Avenatti completed departed from reality when he shifted his criticism away from the ex-boyfriend to attack Politico as a vehicle of the “far right” [emphasis mine]:
“I mean, that’s the best the far right can drum up is some ex-boyfriend who claims she’s not credible?I mean, that’s not what this is about.
“This woman’s prepared to take a polygraph exam. She is a sexual assault victim, and we need to stop attacking sexual assault victims, and white men need to stop passing judgement on sexual assault victimsuntil all of the facts are known.This is disgusting by Chuck Grassley and others to go after this woman.”
The idea that Politico is a mouthpiece for fascist and Nazi causes is beyond ridiculous. The publication regularly features left-leaning commentary and serious journalistic scoops alike and is thusly rated by the Harvard Library-promoted “Media Bias/Fact Check” website as having a “left-center” bias and a “high” factual reporting quality. Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of the political media environment knows this.
Therefore, it seems pretty clear that Avenatti was either blatantly lying to try to confuse CNN’s audience or was so severely deranged by his hatred of people who contradict him that he lashed out unthinkingly at those who he perceived as impugning his and his client’s credibility (in this case, Politico reporters Marc Caputo and Natasha Korecki). While ignorance might also be an excuse under normal conditions, Avenatti’s extensive recent history of self-promotion through the political media circuit and his familiarity with that scene seems to preclude such an explanation of these comments.
Ultimately, if Avenatti truly believes that “white men” need to shut up and “stop passing judgement on sexual assault victims until all of the facts are known,” perhaps he should start with himself, especially if he wants to avoid future embarrassment.