Ethics Observations On The Michael Avenatti Arrest

Welcome to karma, Michael Avenetti!

News item:

“Attorney Michael Avenatti has been placed under arrest on suspicion of felony domestic violence and was booked early Wednesday evening.

Los Angeles Police Department officer Jeff Lee said the domestic violence report was taken on Tuesday in West Los Angeles and the arrest was made Wednesday.
“We can confirm that today LAPD Detectives arrested Michael Avenatti on suspicion of domestic violence. This is an ongoing investigation and we will provide more details as they become available,” the LAPD Twitter account posted Wednesday. In a statement, Avenatti called the allegations “completely bogus.”

…Avenatti posted $50,000 bail and left police custody Wednesday evening. He told reporters waiting outside the station, “I have never struck a woman. I never will strike a woman.”

“I am confident I will be fully exonerated,” he added.

…Avenatti emerged this year as a regular antagonist of President Donald Trump, beginning with his legal representation of Stormy Daniels and his frequent media appearances..he has publicly flirted with a potential bid for the Democratic presidential nomination to challenge Trump in 2020. The alleged domestic violence incident could dash Avenatti’s prospects as a potential insurgent Democratic candidate and clash with the image he has presented of himself as an advocate for women, including Daniels in her clash with Trump and an accuser against recently confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The Vermont Democratic Party canceled Avenatti’s appearances for Friday and Saturday following his arrest, and it will refund all ticket sales, said Christopher Di Mezzo, the party’s communications director.

This story is like a great, big, ethics piñata that got hit squarely by a stick and spilled ethics candy all over the floor!


1. Is it unethical to take pleasure in the misfortune of another, even a grandstanding, publicity-obsessed gasbag who makes me want to burn my bar card? Nah, not when the inspiration for mirth is condign justice. Like Michael Cohen, the shenanigans of Avenatti were signature significance for a phony and a charlatan, and his fall was just a matter of time.

We should always take pleasure in the exposure of such public figures, however it occurs.

2. Of course, Avenatti is not guilty of anything. This is an allegation only, at this point. And the fact that he tried to pile on to the politically-generated accusations against Brett Kavanaugh by endorsing the incredible claims by a woman, Juile Swetnick, connecting Kavanaugh to “gang rapes,” claims that she later contradicted and that are now the subject of an FBI investigation into possible felonies by both Swetnick and Avenatti, doesn’t mean he should not have the right to the presumption of innocence that he tried to deny Justice Kavanaugh.

3. By the way, what an idiot! The woman who has charged him was not his wife, and Avenatti, who has said that he would never hit a woman and has never hit a women, initially told police that “she hit me first.” “First” in that statement definitively contradicts his denial. You have made your name and reputation representing women in #MeToo-related cases, and are posing as a feminist champion. How hard is it to avoid getting arrested for domestic abuse? Wouldn’t the nurturing of such a public image dictate nothing within a hundred metaphorical miles of questionable relations with a woman other than one’s wife?

4. The episode should effectively sink whatever minuscule chances Avenatti had to face President Trump in 2020. The theory, I assume, was that since the GOP had won the White House with a fluke candidate who was a narcissist and a blow-hard with no evident qualifications for the Presidency, the Democrats could do the same. (This is akin to Michael Moore’s theory that only a non-politician celebrity can beat Trump.) It was unethical for the Republicans to offer a candidate like Trump, and would be similarly unethical for the Democrats to run an Avenatti because being irresponsible worked for the GOP. This is “everybody does it” thinking of the most dangerous kind.

5. Avenatti had said that only a white male could win back the White House. Again, what an idiot. The Democratic Party’s full-on embrace of “believe all women,” “men are presumed guilty,” “everything is rape, assault or harassment,” “white men are a pox on civilization,” and “a man is guilty until proven innocent” means exactly the opposite. Avenatti’s current plight merely reinforces the obvious. No male nominee for President will be able to avoid a kamikazi attack from one or more accusers from his distant pass who suddenly decided that what they had believed for decades was an innocent gesture, touch, word or flirtation was, in retrospect, sexual misconduct. Even though the likely field is depressingly weak, Democrats have trapped themselves into nominating a woman.

On the bright side, the worst of them would be preferable to Michael Avenatti

6. A legal ethics note: a question raised among legal ethicists arose from this story: Is a lawyer’s felony indictment and arrest a significant development which needs to be promptly disclosed to the lawyer’s clients?

The duty of communication (Rule 1.4) requires lawyers to inform clients of developments that might affect the clients’ decisions regarding the representation. I can see many reasons why a client would prefer not to continue retaining a lawyer who has his own legal problems. Not all the ethicists agree, but I’m right: yes, the lawyer must disclose his arrest to all clients.

Fortunately, since it was headline news, Avenatti doesn’t have to worry about that.


47 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The Michael Avenatti Arrest

    • I decided the Rule was unethical back before unsubstantiated retroactive accusations of long-standing were being accepted as a valid by advocates like Still Spartan and deemed sufficient to tar a man for life. I’m going to have to revisit that one.

          • I’d love to see the metaphorical math involved in overriding the “These Are Not Ordinary Times” rationalization. Not challenging the veracity of the claim, as I see that all ethics is ultimately an equation of values.

            But that some conditions do wildly adjust the weighting of those values and return non-ordinary results. That “These are not ordinary times” rationalization relies on a person having not done the ethical explication to demonstrate how the times are actually reasonably characterized as truly dire, so they lazily just say so.

        • Following on Michael West’s query:

          As a general rule, Schadenfreude is unethical as it celebrates someone’s misery or misfortune. In this situation, however, Schadenfreude is not only not applicable, it is fun and ethical, and mandatory. I say: heap as much grief on him as is allowable under law so that he never shows his arrogant, putrescent face in public again. In addition, there is so much egg on so many faces one can hardly contain one’s glee.

          To wit:

          1. Avenatti is a Loathsome Individual, Part One. Avenatti is a loathsome individual (I think I just repeated myself . . . ), a shameless self-promoter. Anything that hoists him on his own petard is just deserts. Let him flap into his own wind. He represented Stormy Daniels. I have no truck with that. Clients have a right to be represented and represented competently. Avenatti did terrible damage to her claim that she was coerced into settling with Trump by accepting hush money, whether from Trump, his campaign, Cohen, or the Russians. Rather that prosecute that claim in the appropriate venue, he took to the court of public opinion, completely damaging his client’s interests by behaving so thoroughly unprofessionally. Daniels may have had a claim; we will never know because Avenatti destroyed her, her credibility*, and her claim. Boooo!

          2. Avenatti is a Loathsome Person, Part Two: Considering his recklessness, it was only a matter of time before Avenatti melted down, imploding spectacularly. His public statement is wonderful. He is asking for the same consideration he denied Brett Kavanaugh. Any chance of running as a Democrat presidential candidate in 2020 just evaporated, and none too soon. Can you imagine the debates between Trump and Avenatti were Avenatti to secure the nomination?**

          3. Now-Justice Kavanaugh. Again, Avenatti interjected himself into the Supreme Court confirmation process by bringing completely outrageous and baseless claims of gang rape against Kavanaugh. Avenatti clearly had no ethical qualms about doing it and his client is a raving lunatic, something Avenatti should have investigated before making such idiotic claims public. He and his client are under investigation for that conduct. Good. He is an idiot and deserves whatever he gets.

          4. Now-Justice Kavanaugh, Part Two. Even though Avenatti’s client’s claims stretched any semblance of credulity, members of the news media and the Democrat Party promoted the #MeToo canard that “all women’s allegations must be believed”, openly declaring that Avenatti was the savior of the US democracy. CNN, ABC, those bozos on “The View”, and a whole host of other media pundits celebrated Avenatti and his client. They, too, must be bathed in Schadenfreude. I wonder if Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Joy Behar will reconsider their praises for someone as damaged and damaging as Avenatti.***

          5. Tucker Carlson with be happy. I like Tucker Carlson. He thinks Avenatti is a horrible human being. Carlson will be able to sit back and laugh and say, “See! I told you he was a creepy porn lawyer!” (I hope Carlson doesn’t gloat. That would be unbecoming of Carlson. Hope springs eternal.) That dust up the gay rights activist caused with Carlson’s underaged daughter will probably float away into the ashes of cyber-history.**** Another client helped by Avenatti’s reckless behavior. Wahoo.

          6. I had a sixth point but I forgot it. Sorry. Too much MSG for lunch.


          *Ed. Note: Yeah, I know. She is an adult film/porn star, and all that entails. She may have had a valid claim of coercion, though, however slight.

          **Ed. Note: As if Pelosi, Speaker of the House or not, would allow that to happen. Say what you will about some of her crazy ideas, comments, and behaviors, Pelosi is extremely bright, a committed and skilled politician, far too savvy to allow Avenatti, who is neither, to come anywhere close to the nomination.

          ***Ed. Note: Don’ yell at me – I am fully aware of the talking heads’ lack of self-awareness and self-reflection, and utter rejection of accountability, for them to seek reconciliation with the public for salivating over Avenatti and his repugnant behavior. I was thinking about the #MeToo thing a bit vis-a-vis Avenatti’s domestic abuse accusations, though. It is actually quite useful for them. Think about it: the Democrats can be consistent, openly declaring that the accuser must be heard and the allegations must be believed and possibly investigated. They can throw Avenatti under the bus without an ounce of remorse. That is some catch, but it won’t clean the scrambled egg off their collective faces, assuming the media actually follows through on the investigation. (Don’t laugh too loudly. You might spill hot chocolate on your keyboards and, no, I am not buying anyone another keyboard. My wife is mad at me for having to buy 6 or 7 keyboards for EA readers already.)

          ****Ed. Note: Frankly, if some adult talked to my son the way the activist is alleged to have talked to Carlson’s daughter, there would be different criminal charges pending and my dentist wife would probably have to repair the activist’s teeth pro bono. See?! I told you she was mad at me!

          • While it may be too narrowly focused to qualify for Jack, I think this post is COTD quality. It was well thought out, well written, funny, and thought provoking.

            6. There was no point 6. Love it! 🙂

            …to come anywhere close to the nomination.

            Makes me wonder who screwed the pooch in the GOP to allow TRUMP to get there? Is there simply no entity in control like Pelosi is with the Dems? I fear we have a bunch of testosterone challenged wimps in the GOP…

            Say what you want about Trump, he has no issues in THAT area.

            • Thanks, Slick. I had fun writing it.

              Your question: “Makes me wonder who screwed the pooch in the GOP to allow TRUMP to get there?”

              Here is my take: At the beginning of the primaries, most at the RNC thought Trump didn’t have a chance at the nomination. They thought (and still think) he is boorish, unprincipled, and a blowhard. The RNC thought he would be out in the first or second round of voting. But, they forgot about, or didn’t consider, the effect of the national media giving Trump wall-to-wall coverage. Jeb Bush was supposed to be the nominee,having a huge war chest and the RNC support, but his campaign never got off the ground. Bush was dumbfounded by Trump’s vicious personal attacks and had no idea how to respond. Rubio, Cruz, Walker, and Kasich fought valiantly to get their messages across but Trump hit them lower and lower every time. Walker saw the writing on the wall early and stepped aside; the others held on tightly but simply got pushed out of the way.

              Remember, also, that the media wanted Clinton to win so they needed an unacceptable candidate on the Republican ticket. Along came Trump. CNN gave Trump millions of dollars in free air time by constantly talking about him. The media and DNC did not understand the “flyover” or middle class American voters who were sick of the Establishment, on both sides. (If Clinton hadn’t secured the super delegates, Sanders might have won on the Democrat side because he drew on the same energy as Trump on the Republican and Independent sides.) Clinton’s “half a basket full of deplorables” comments sealed her fate. That kind of rebuke from a major candidate may work in other countries, but we here in the US are that eternal young adult whose response isn’t to reconsider our conduct but to raise the international symbol of contempt up the flagpole for all to see.

              Trump decimated the RNC/Bush Establishment in the primaries. He also defeated the Clinton/DNC Establishment on the Democrat side. Trump tapped into the anger/animosity of frustrated middle to upper-middle class voters, the union and the heavy industry workers. Trump flipped the narrative. Democrats once use to talk about protecting US workers, their factories, and their jobs; in the last campaign, Clinton told W. Virginia coal miners they would be out of work. Clinton talked about securing equal wages and raising the minimum wage, but not for the factory workers out of jobs, but for illegal aliens who are all noble, doing the jobs regular lazy, racists Americans won’t do. Trump, on the other hand, went to the Mid West and told the auto workers to fire up the mass production lines because he was going to reinvigorate the auto factories and coal workers that they were secure. He also said that American interests come first and the US won’t be dictated to by the EU, the UN, or other globalists. Trump sold a populist message of taking care of the hard working Americans who have been taken for granted by both parties.

              So, Trump’s victory was more of a rejection of the RNC and DNC than it was a vote in favor of Trump. Middle America told the pollsters they would vote for Clinton but when the got into the voting booths, they pulled the Trump lever, leaving the pundits scratching their heads. The RNC has lost touche with its core American interests. The RNC also ignores the local elections. How could the RNC allow a city the size of Houston continue to be a Democrat stronghold? There needs to be a total shake up at the grassroots levels to reconnect with its voters. It needs to attract disenfranchised middle and upper middle class Blacks and Hispanics. It needs to reject idiots like that bozo in Mississippi who said she would accompany her governor to a public hanging. It needs to listen to the Rubios and the Walkers.


      • Maybe the long-standing part is new, but the unsubstatiated accusation to ruin someone isn’t. About 8 years ago, our state’s Chief Medical Examiner was forced out after exposing serious problems in the agency that needed to be addressed. A subordinate accused him of sexual harassment. His successor continued on his program of reform and the same employee accused him of sexual harassment. A prominent Democratic legislator then was named head. In a nearby town, the same female police officer and union official accused 3 police chiefs in 2 years with sexually harassing her. The union was then allowed to pick the chief. That was over 10 years ago.

    • It depends. In a world where few people will make completely unsubstantiated accusations without any proof, no, you don’t need such a rule. You just don’t harass or assault anyone and you’re good. In a world where people will make unsubstantiated claims against people they have never even met and those claims will be considered ‘credible’ by the MSM and major political figures, well that is a different world.

  1. You can find me guilty as charged for engaging in observation #1.

    Honestly, I’m not the least bit surprised, seems that the loudest, most boisterous and unscrupulous in the arena of politics always end up shooting themselves in the foot sooner or later.

    • “She hit me first.”

      Beauty, eh? I wonder whether TMZ or someone else made that up? Is that admissible if it’s in a police report?

  2. 5) I don’t think the DNC has locked themselves into a woman nominee. Their confederates in the media have been actively boosting a few men as potentials for the nomination as they desperately search for anyone they can throw glitter on and boost as a rock star in much the same way they did Obama.

      • Some leftist media have already gone so far as to admit they are sexually aroused by Beto O’Rourke. Others are fixating on his blogging life as though it’s some deep facet of a complex personality.

        They are already building up a virtual shrine to him.

          • Doing as well as Beto did against Ted in Texas show that tons of money matter, that glitter and glowing press matter, and most low information voters are dumb as a bag of hammers. I include the Trump supporters who did NOT vote for Ted.

            Look at the difference between Gov Abbott’s votes and Ted. Straight party voting usually helps down ballot races: half a million went out of their way to vote against Ted.

            • As much as I support libertarianism and desperately hope libertarians in general grow up and mature their platform, I had to grit my teeth and vote for every republican on the ballot. Like I’ve alluded to in the past, the DNC and it’s political vision pose an existential threat to liberty, due process, rule of law, and the American experiment, and no good citizen can vote for Democrats until they change their totalitarian ways.

              As I went down the ticket, I was delighted to see a race where there was NO democrat. One of the lower judgeships was a Republican vs a Libertarian. I got to vote for a Libertarian at that point!

              Then when I reviewed the election results on Texas website, I was appalled that for state legislative positions there are actually districts that didn’t run GOP guys at all. That kinda concerns me.

              • I have wished for a long time that this country would get out of the two-party mindset and stop thinking that it has to be either Democratic or Republican every time. Funny how that happened when our first president was by all account an independent. It’s sad to me that no third party candidate has really been viable since Ross Perot. I’d love to see someone worthwhile from a third manage to make it on the ticket in 2020. I think it could be to the point that people are so sick of both parties that a third party could have a good chance IF they were worthwhile. And of course, raised enough money that they were noticeable. Jill Stein only became noticeable in the last presidential election due to her recount demand and keeping the excess money raised for herself.

  3. Jack wrote, “doesn’t mean [Avenatti] should not have the right to the presumption of innocence”


    What lefties will argue is that Avenatti is formally charged so he should have presumption of innocence where Kavanaugh was only accused, tarred, and dragged through the mud in the court of public opinion trying to destroy him and his family and those kind of things people shouldn’t get the presumption of innocence right. Kavanaugh was subjected to vigilantism where Avenatti is subject to the law.

  4. Jack, I am glad you seem to be feeling better.

    On point 4 you equated Avanatti and Trump as without any discernable qualifications. I disagree. They are both 35 years of age and natural born citizens. Those are the only 2 qualifications that exist.

    Needless to say the bar may be way to low but should we require some sort of test to determine civic literacy, an understanding of geopolitical gamesmanship, or military strategy? I think that is a very slippery slope.

    Personally, I want fewer politicians with law backgrounds and more thoughtful people with a wide array of experiences making decisions.

    When I grew up it was not unusual to hear from an adult that every person can grow up to be president. A roadmap of how to get there was never given – perhaps for good reason.

      • SW. I agree but the message was to instill in us that everyone could be anything we set our mind to.

        If we decide to create specific qualifications how will we arrive at what bona fide occupational qualifications will be the minimum? Will the powerful and well connected be the arbiters of legitimate qualifications?

        Technically, one could claim that only persons admitted to the Bar are qualified to craft laws. But then we would need specially trained lawyers in all sorts of fields because a criminal defense atty is not any more qualified than some non lawyers to address SEC law – you get my point.

        Theoretically only ex governors and heads of multi billion dollar organizations have the skill sets to run the Executive branch of government. So Senators should not apply?

        Money is not a qualification it is a resource. Nothing more.

        • We do not disagree on anything you said.

          Some fine points, since we are counting angel’s arses for pin sitting duty:

          1. All of the qualifications have been set out. Pragmatically, my last sentence is true: further ‘qualifications’ have been set by the system that has grown around this society and

          2. I do not see a solution for point 1. You have well laid out the pitfalls of a ‘governmental’ class where only certain people can run.

          3. Those with money control the resources. I never said it was a qualification, just mandatory for the national election process. Someone has to pay for a candidate to get enough exposure to be elected.

      • Aliza in the marketplace of ideas we need no monopolies.

        Trump may be difficult to swallow but so too is the prep for a colonoscopy. Each has the same outcome.

        • [I am not good at perceiving irony if it is too subtle so forgive me if I am not getting you here.]

          But I cannot make the connect between the prep for a colonoscopy and the *outcome* of Trump-as-president.

          Because I try to inform myself from all different angles, I watched a series of video presentations put out by Reich-Wing Watch (a YouTube channel to which I subscribe) which does a good job at indicating, fairly or unfairly, I am not completely certain, the way that Trump and his ‘rhetoric’ connect to dark and violent anger in people, in his ‘base’.

          It is not hard to make the connection between Trump’s rhetoric and the rhetoric of David Duke, and then the connection between these two figures and America’s not-distant past: the KKK era in the Teens and Twenties in most American cities. In any case, this is the angle that Reich-Watch pursues. It has a certain logic.

          In order to understand — to interpret and define Trump — one requires a special POV (point of view) that I think could only be future-sight. Because what he is and what he means is not immediately apparent. In other words, in order to arrive at a correct definition, a correct interpretation, of him one must have a special capability to write an analysis which is a historical prognostication.

          What is he doing? What has he done? What will now happen within the American body-politic now that he has come on the scene and ‘Oh you’ve changed things, there’s no going back’ (to quote the Joker in the Batman movie). It is fair to say that certain *battle lines* have now been drawn; the demographic and ethno-cultural lines have been drawn; and it is all taking shape within an environment that includes high-stakes National (State) players with control of a ‘NSA Apparatus’ (you get what I mean I assume), in a general situation of unrest and confusion within a general globalization trend playing at a world-level . . .

          What do you think it means? Do you attempt to speculate? Is it valid or even advisable to attempt to speculate, to project into the future? Are you working on a screen play? and if so, What producer will you submit it to when you have it outlined? 😉

          The actors of history, I am gaining this impression, are never sober and rational. The movements of history do not seem to me *rational* as in *rationally chosen*. Where is all this going? To war? Is this all ‘for the good’? or one more slide into chaos and decadent processes?

  5. “ ‘she hit me first.’ ”

    Highfreakin’larious! This may require a new EA category: Profiles In DumbFuckery

    Glass half full? From the ashes of despair, hope springs eternal.

    Seems Stephanie Clifford has SEEN THE LIGHT and will ​ SHITCAN that little DEADBEAT PRICK if the allegations “prove true.”

    • I don’t particularly like the man, but it must be stated that it would be very very easy to frame him. All you’d need is a woman who’d be willing to incite a scene — hitting him, attacking him, who knows? — just to get his to react. As everyone knows, a woman’s accusation before the police must lead to an arrest. Such an arrest would, in this man’s case, implicate him and likely nullify him for continued political activity, or a presidency run, as unlikely as that would seem.

        • The way the Democrats are going these days they’re going to have to nominate Kamala Harris as their Presidential candidate for 2020. She’s black, she’s a woman, she is a Progressive attack dog, she’s a social justice warrior, she’s willing to open her mouth and let it fly to fire up her base like Trump does, she’s the perfect anti-Trump Progressive hack for the Democratic Party candidate. What could go wrong?

      • “I don’t particularly like the man,”

        Masterfully understated, like Attila the Hun enjoyed an robust outdoor lifestyle?

        “but it must be stated that it would be very very easy to frame him.”

        Only because he’s a monumentally amoral, smarmy, unctuous POS that leaves a trail of toxic primordial ooze as he slimes from one pile of excrement to the next.

        You may gather I don’t particularly like the man, either.

        Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas in War of the Roses) might accurately opine: Avenatti’s the ”lowest form of prehistoric frog shit on the bottom of a New Jersey scum swamp.”)

        Anywho, I also note the…um…talented Ms. Clifford is now leaving herself a little wiggle room in whether or not she’ll continue to retain him.

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