Michael Avenatti Avenatti in 2018Born Michael John Avenatti
Michael John Avenatti (born February 16, 1971) is an American attorney and entrepreneur. He has appeared on broadcast and in print media as a commentator on a range of legal issues and has represented parties in a number of lawsuits that have gained international media attention, including cases brought against the National Football League, various celebrity defendants, high-ranking business executives, and Fortune 100 companies. He is also a professional race car driver, having participated in races across the United States and Europe. Avenatti is best known for suing President Donald Trump on behalf of porn actress Stormy Daniels in an attempt to void a non-disclosure agreement she had signed.Contents
Born on February 16, 1971 in Sacramento, California, Avenatti spent his early childhood in Colorado and Utah. He moved with his family to Chesterfield, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, in 1982, where he attended Parkway Central High School. After graduating in 1989, Avenatti attended Saint Louis University for a year before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a B.A. in political science in 1996. He attended George Washington University Law School, where he graduated Order of the Coif and first in his class with a J.D. in 2000. While at GW, he worked with Professor Jonathan Turley on constitutional issues relating to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In 2003, George Washington University Law School established the Michael J. Avenatti Award for Excellence in Pre-Trial and Trial Advocacy, an annual award given to the member of the graduating Juris Doctor class who demonstrates excellence in pre-trial and trial advocacy. Avenatti also received George Washington University's prestigious Alumni Recognition Award in 2010.Career
While in college and later in law school, Avenatti worked at The Research Group, a political opposition research and media firm run by Rahm Emanuel (later White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama, and Mayor of Chicago). Avenatti worked on over 150 Democratic and Republican campaigns in 42 states while studying at George Washington University.
After law school, Avenatti worked at O'Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, California, alongside Daniel M. Petrocelli, who previously represented the Ron Goldman family in its case against O.J. Simpson. He assisted Petrocelli on multiple legal matters, including the representation of singer Christina Aguilera and litigation surrounding the movie K-19: The Widowmaker, and worked extensively for Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the musical group the Eagles, including in a suit brought by former bandmate Don Felder against the group and Irving Azoff.
Avenatti later joined Greene Broillet & Wheeler, a Los Angeles boutique law firm. While there, he handled a number of high-profile cases, including a $10 million defamation case against Paris Hilton, settled an idea-theft lawsuit relating to the show The Apprentice and against producers Mark Burnett and Donald Trump, and a $40 million embezzlement lawsuit involving KPMG.
In 2007, Avenatti formed the law firm Eagan Avenatti, LLP (formerly known as Eagan O'Malley & Avenatti, LLP) with offices in Newport Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. He has since appeared on 60 Minutes three times in connection with cases he has handled. Avenatti has also served as lead counsel on a number of historically large cases, including an April 2017 $454 million verdict after a jury trial in Federal Court in Los Angeles in a fraud case against Kimberly-Clark and Halyard Health, later reduced to a $21.7 million verdict upon appeal, an $80.5 million class-action settlement against Service Corporation International, a $41 million jury verdict against KPMG, and a $39 million malicious prosecution settlement.
In 2013 Avenatti formed a company, Global Baristas, to buy Seattle-based Tully's Coffee out of bankruptcy. Avenatti first formed a partnership with actor Patrick Dempsey, but Dempsey later backed away from the venture after a short legal battle that resulted in a settlement. Since 2015, Global Baristas has been named in more than 50 lawsuits in state and federal courts for breach of contract, unpaid bills, and unpaid taxes.
In 2015, Avenatti prevailed against the National Football League (NFL) following a jury trial in Dallas. He later pursued a class-action suit on behalf of fans who showed up for Super Bowl XLV with tickets that didn't correspond to actual seats but the courts in Texas declined to certify the class.
In 2016, Avenatti filed another class action lawsuit against the NFL, this time on behalf of ticket-holders to the annual Hall of Fame Game, which was cancelled a few hours before kickoff.
In 2017, a Florida man named Gerald Tobin alleged Avenatti failed to pay him $28,700 for private investigatory work. As a result, Avenatti's firm was abruptly forced into bankruptcy. In various news reports, including work done by CNN, Tobin was found to be an ex-con with four decades of convictions and jail time and not a licensed investigator. Tobin's claim forced Avenatti into bankruptcy which caused Avenatti to cancel a deposition in an unrelated lawsuit days later, raising the question of collusion between Avenatti and Tobin. The issue was resolved when the pair entered into a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and Avenatti paid Tobin the $28,700.
In 2018, Avenatti's law firm was subjected to a $10 million judgment in U.S. bankruptcy court. Avenatti has also defaulted on a $440,000 judgment in back taxes, penalties, and interest that he was personally obligated to pay under another bankruptcy settlement. The U.S. Attorney's office asserted in court that a motion seeking payment would soon be filed against Avenatti. Eagan Avenatti had been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and, in December 2017, had agreed to pay $4.8 million in unpaid fees to a former partner, $2 million in back taxes, and $1 million to other creditors. In June 2018, the former partner filed a motion in U.S. bankruptcy court asking for a lien on any and all legal fees Avenatti's firm might collect, up to $10 million, from clients in 54 cases including his representation of Stormy Daniels.
Avenatti has, on several occasions, including a Twitter post, expressed interest in running for president in 2020. In a CBC TV interview published in mid-September, Avenatti said he could have a more comfortable life if he simply didn't enter the political realm, and that he'd run only if Trump or Pence ran for president in 2020.Racing
Since 2010, Avenatti has raced as a driver in approximately 33 professional sportscar races, including various American Le Mans Series, FIA World Endurance Championship, Porsche Supercup and United SportsCar Championship races in the United States and in Europe. These races have included the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, 2012 Petit Le Mans, and the Long Beach Grand Prix. Avenatti had been planning to race the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, but replaced himself with Patrick Long a few weeks before the event because scheduling conflicts had arisen with his other business interests. At the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, Avenatti teamed up with Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Saud and Polish driver Jakub "Kuba" Giermaziak in the No. 66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia, the team placing seventh in their class.Stormy Daniels−Donald Trump scandal Main article: Stormy Daniels–Donald Trump scandal
In March 2018, Avenatti filed a lawsuit on behalf of adult film actress Stormy Daniels seeking to invalidate a 2016 non-disclosure agreement regarding an alleged affair with Donald Trump in 2006. The non-disclosure agreement had been negotiated in the final days of the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign. Avenatti has been a frequent guest on talk shows and cable news programs to discuss the case, logging 108 CNN and MSNBC appearances between March 7, 2018 and May 10, 2018. He also gained a large following on Twitter; he is known for ending his tweets about the case and other Trump-related matters with the hashtag "#basta"–the Italian word for "enough."
In May 2018, Avenatti released records showing multiple large payments, some from major corporations, into the bank account Cohen had used to pay Daniels. Cohen's lawyers subsequently argued that some of the transactions released by Avenatti involved a different Michael Cohen, but they did not dispute the larger deposits. The US Treasury Department opened an investigation into how Avenatti gained information on Cohen's private bank records. Avenatti had also filed a motion to join the federal investigation of Michael Cohen. The federal judge issued Avenatti "a choice" that if he wanted to join he would have to end what the judge called his "publicity tour" of TV appearances and tweets about the case. Avenatti withdrew the motion, and appeared on MSNBC that same day.Immigration
Michael Avenatti provided to MSNBC a video which aired on the June 25, 2018 episode of The Rachel Maddow Show, a "secretly shot" video of a child in the custody of immigration officials who was separated from her mother. The video was leaked by a former employee whom Avenatti represents. The leaked video was part of the response to the Trump administration family separation policy.Racing record Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class