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Is Michael Avenatti Guilty of More Than Extortion?

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Hmm, I’m beginning to think he might not be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee:

Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti, who rose to fame representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump, was found guilty Friday of trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike.

The jury’s decision in U.S. District Court in Manhattan came after a three-week trial for the California lawyer, who faces a statutory maximum of 42 years in prison when he is sentenced in June.

“Today a unanimous jury found Michael Avenatti guilty of misusing his client’s information in an effort to extort tens of millions of dollars from the athletic apparel company Nike,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. “While the defendant may have tried to hide behind legal terms and a suit and tie, the jury clearly saw the defendant’s scheme for what it was — an old-fashioned shakedown.”

Remember this kind of thing?

Admittedly, Swalwell’s entry really transformed the race!

The more interesting question about Avenatti is whether he’s responsible for Brett Kavanaugh getting confirmed to the Supreme Court. According to Supreme Ambition, some Republican insiders (including Chuck Grassley’s Chief of Staff) think so. According to Marcus, the Deborah Ramirez story, following up on the hilariously botched attempt by Ed Whelan to discredit Blasey Ford, seemed to genuinely shake some critical Republicans. Avenatti, by stepping on the Ramirez story with a not-credible one, pretty much put a stop to that, discrediting the two credible stories with his bullshit and making claims that it was a partisan witch hunt more plausible. The intervention if a self-promoting scam artist was the rationalization that made it easy for Republicans to unite around Kavanaugh rather than getting the same votes from someone else.

It’s impossible to say how the counterfactual would have turned out, and the best assumption is probably that Kavanaugh gets confirmed anyway. But I think there’s a very real possibility that without this asshole making it about himself Kavanaugh would have been defeated or been forced out. Marcus isn’t a mark for people like Collins — she knows when her public brow-furrowing is just performative. There were Republican senators who were really beginning to wonder if it was worth it. Maybe it would have happened anyway — but this removed any significant doubts and also made the job of the Republican leadership a lot easier. Buh-bye.

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