When it comes to political controversy, attorney Michael Avenatti is there. He represents Stormy Daniels – the adult film star mired in a legal battle with President Trump – and now he has a new client who is accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during his school days.
Avenatti, a 47-year-old who is prone to using the hashtag “#Basta” on social media – is known to be a publicity-friendly attorney. He teased his client’s name for days on social media before he finally revealed her identity and allegations against Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied having ever sexually assaulted anyone and called the claims made by Avenatti’s client, Julie Swetnick, “ridiculous” and “from the Twilight Zone” in a statement to Fox News.
Avenatti has called for Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to be delayed as Trump attacked him personally on Twitter.
“Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships – a total low-life!” Trump said.
Avenatti responded, calling Trump a “habitual liar and complete narcissist.”
Read on for five things to know about Avenatti.
Stormy Daniels – whose real name is Stephanie Clifford – sued Trump in March, alleging the nondisclosure agreement she signed concerning an alleged tryst in 2006 wasn’t valid.
She said she was paid by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, to keep quiet about the alleged sexual encounter.
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Avenatti is representing Daniels and has defended his client in numerous cable news interviews and on social media.
Avenatti is a part-time race car driver who has participated in a number of competitions, including the Long Beach Grand Prix, 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona, according to Sports Illustrated.
“I’ve broken a few bones, nothing major,” Avenatti told the sports outlet of his racing days.
Jonathan Turley, who taught Avenatti at George Washington University’s law school, described his former student as an “adrenaline junkie.”
“I think he needs that adrenaline rush. He lives his life aggressively,” Turley told The Washington Post. “In both litigation and in life he shows a certain aggressive style.”
During college, Avenatti worked for a firm owned by Rahm Emanuel, who was former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff before becoming Chicago’s mayor. To earn money for his tuition, Avenatti did opposition research on Democrats and Republicans, The Washington Post reported.
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Still, Avenatti accrued $340,000 in student debt, which he told the newspaper he was able to pay off with a bonus check he earned while working for a California law firm.
Along with “Grey’s Anatomy” star Patrick Dempsey, Avenatti bought the struggling Seattle-based Tully’s Coffee company in 2013 for $9.5 million, according to The Seattle Times.
Dempsey would later leave the partnership and sue Avenatti, claiming he did not provide the funding as promised and used the company to secure a $2 million loan without Dempsey’s knowledge, The Seattle Times reported in 2013.
Earlier this year, The Seattle Times reported that his company, Global Baristas, has been named in more than 50 federal and state legal complaints. The complaints included disputes over leases, unpaid taxes and commercial lawsuits.
All of the Tully’s stores have since closed, and Avenatti has said he sold his stake in it, making a profit in doing so. His current role with the company, he said, is acting as its general counsel.
Avenatti said he’s considering running for president.
“I’m exploring a run for the presidency of the United States, and I wanted to come to Iowa and listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework,” Avenatti told the Des Moines Register in August.
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Previously, he floated the idea of challenging Trump for the White House in a tweet. He said then that he would launch a campaign “only if I think that there is no other candidate in the race that has a real chance of beating him.”
In an email to Fox News at the time, Avenatti said he had been “approached by both the Republican and Democratic parties” about being a 2020 candidate.
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.