Michael Avenatti, everybody. (PETER FOLEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
In a plot twist definitely no one needed, Michael Avenatti wormed his method into the Nxivm sex cult case on Wednesday, obviously having tried to insert himself onto Clare Bronfman’s defense group. Bronfman, of course, is the Seagrams alcohol heiress accused of bankrolling the fraudulent “self-help” group; Avenatti, as you’re doubtless aware, is the previous Stormy Daniels lawyer accused of attempting to extort upwards of $20 million from Nike.
Honestly, the overlap makes as much and as little sense as anything else that’s happened this week.
At a hearing in Brooklyn federal court the other day, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis reportedly asked as to whether or not Bronfman had silently satisfied with Avenatti about joining her counsel. One of Bronfman’s lawyers, Mark Geragos—incidentally, an declared co-conspirator in Avenatti’s extortion case—admitted to Garaufis that yes, he had informed the prosecution that Avenatti would be joining the case.
Adding to the courtroom drama, Bronfman passed out after a sidebar with her lawyers and Garaufis about the admission, and was hauled out of the hearing on a stretcher by an Emergency Medical Technician squad. According to the NY P ost, they suggested Bronfman be taken to a hospital: An openly frustrated Garaufis reportedly ordered everybody to come back to the courtroom today, so they could pick up the Avenatti conversation where they left off.
On Monday, police apprehended Avenatti in Manhattan, minutes after he tweeted about a press conference in which he planned to drop some big and damning news about the athletic gear huge, Nike. Prosecutors state that Avenatti and an unspecified “client” threatened to “blow the lid” off alleged staff member scamming if the brand failed to cough up $15 to $25 million for an internal investigation it hadn’t asked Avenatti to conduct. At the same time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Central California charged Avenatti for wire and bank scams, arguing that he had falsified his income tax returns and also failed to pay them. Earlier this year, Avenatti was likewise arrested (but ultimately not charged) on suspicion of domestic violence, and at every legal turn, has loudly proclaimed his innocence.
Bronfman, on the other hand, has been charged with cash laundering and identity theft for her involvement with Nxivm, the alleged cult and sex trafficking ring that prosecutors state inducted ladies into a trick sorority and branded them as “slaves.” Bronfman has actually been accused of footing the costs for this group’s criminal offenses, and also, of helping its leader, Keith Raniere, take login information for “perceived enemies'” e-mail accounts; use a dead lady’s credit card and bank account to pay for Raniere’s personal expenditures; and smuggle a lady into the country unlawfully. At the time of her arrest, a legal representative for Bronfman asserted her customer’s innocence, however Nancy Salzman—Nxivm’s co-founder—has considering that pleaded guilty.
Jumping on Bronfman’s legal team is a weird flex for a male who has previously located himself as an advocate for females. Best understood for representing Daniels in her suit against President Donald Trump, Avenatti likewise involved himself in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s verification hearings, tweeting out sworn affidavits from women who’d seen and experienced the candidate’s alleged misbehavior firsthand. Seen from another angle, though—the angle of opportunism and self-promotion—it’s a totally routine flex for a person who enjoys the spotlight. I expect it all depends on your viewpoint, but I for one would like to unsubscribe.