Democratic attorney Michael Avenatti is facing spending the rest of his life in prison in New York and California for a wide array of financial crimes, including fraud, embezzlement and extortion. A year ago, he was a human Excalibur who could possibly vanquish Donald Trump once and for all.
In 2018, one couldn't turn on the news without seeing his face while promoting himself and his client Stormy Daniels's case against Trump, which delved into a non-disclosure agreement and hush money payment over an alleged 2006 affair she had with Trump. In addition to being a near-daily guest on CNN and MSNBC, Avenatti appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Real Time with Bill Maher, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, Today, The View, The Circus and more, racking up hundreds of millions of dollars of free media. On May 3 last year, he appeared on 10 different shows in 24 hours.
Avenatti won accolades from liberal media members for his aggressive style and promises of bringing down Trump—he repeatedly has predicted Trump won't serve out his first term—such as MSNBC contributor Eddie Glaude, Jr. calling him a "beast" and claiming historian Jon Meacham called him the "savior of the republic." MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle said she had to offer Avenatti an apology for doubting his ability to combat Trump, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell said Trump was "terrified" of Avenatti, and The View‘s Joy Behar said he was "saving the country."
Liberal comedian Bill Maher introduced him as Trump's "worst nightmare" and said he was a "folk hero" to people who believed he and Daniels would be the tip of the spear to take down Trump for alleged campaign financial crimes. Colbert called the case an "existential threat to the Trump presidency."
Avenatti capitalized on his fame to flirt with running for president, claiming the Democratic National Committee had given him "encouragement" to do so. He visited Iowa and declared that "when they go low, we hit harder."
Deadline: White House host Nicolle Wallace, a frequent interviewer, got a look at Avenatti's remarks before that Iowa visit and said his speech "hit a lot of the right notes," adding if Democrats were looking for a fighter, they "would be foolish to underestimate Michael Avenatti."
"I have always said they needed a fighter!" The Root‘s Jason Johnson chimed in. Said the Washington Post‘s Phillip Rucker: He "stands out" among the current candidates as a non-office holder.
The View allowed him to be a guest co-host for a show last August and got into such topics as Avenatti's sexual fantasies. As co-host Meghan McCain looked on, repulsed, Avenatti said it was "handcuffs." Putting them on others, specifically.
"One reason why I'm taking you seriously as a contender is because of your presence on cable news," CNN's Brian Stelter told Avenatti last year.
Avenatti made a telling remark during one of his sit-downs with Colbert.
"We're going to continue to use the media. I think we've used it with great success," he said.