Alan Dershowitz reacts to Michael Avenatti’s arrest

Alan Dershowitz reacts to Michael Avenatti’s arrest


THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE NOW ARE BREAKING NEWS COVERAGE OF ATTORNEY MICHAEL AVENATTI, ARRESTED IN NEW YORK. CHARGES BEING BROUGHT AGAINST HIM. I’M GOING TO BRING ON THE PHONE NOW ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR EMERITUS. THIS CAUGHT A LOT OF PEOPLE OFF GUARD. MAYBE NOT OF AN ODDITY, THOUGH. BECAUSE HE HAD ALREADY PLANNED A PRESS CONFERENCE TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF THESE CHARGES AGAINST HIM. TALK TO ME ABOUT YOUR REACTION AT THIS POINT AND KIND OF TAKE US THROUGH WHAT’S HAPPENING TO HIM.>>I NEVER FEEL GOOD WHEN SOMEBODY IS CHARGED WITH A SERIOUS CRIME, AND WE HAVE TO REMEMBER WE HAVE A PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE. FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN, HE WAS ON THE PHONE PERHAPS RECORDED, PERHAPS NOT, IN WHICH HE WAS ESSENTIALLY ACCUSED OF THREATENING TO AFFECT NIKE’S CAPITAL VALUE UNLESS MONEY WAS PAID. HE HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH EXTORTION. I DON’T KNOW THE SPECIFICS OF WHAT THE CONVERSATION REGARDED, BUT THE LAW IS CLEAR THAT YOU CAN’T THREATEN A COMPANY’S BOTTOM LINE UNLESS THEY PAY MONEY, UNLESS IT’S PART OF A NEGOTIATION. THIS IS AN EXAMPLE, PERHAPS, OF A GUY WITH A BIG MOUTH USING WORDS THAT REASONABLE LAWYERS WOULD NEVER USE IN A CONVERSATION. WHETHER HE IS ACTUALLY GUILTY OF THE CRIME OR NOT, WE WOULD HAVE TO KNOW A LOT MORE ABOUT THE EVIDENCE AND THEIR PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE APPLIES TO EVEN PEOPLE WHO WOULDN’T APPLY THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE TO OTHER PEOPLE.>>Harris: ALAN, WHAT DOES IT SAY TO YOU THAT THE IRS SPECIAL AGENT IS INVOLVED IN ONE OF THESE NEWS CONFERENCES? THERE WILL BE TWO, ONE IN LOS ANGELES AND ONE IN NEW YORK.>>WELL, IT’S HARD TO KNOW. THERE MAY BE TAXABLE OCCASIONS. IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE THAT FROM WHAT WE’VE HEARD, BUT IT ALSO MAY BE THAT BECAUSE IT INVOLVES JUST FINANCES YOU GET IRS AGENTS BEING INVOLVED. IF IT’S A STRAIGHT OUT EXTORTION CASE, YOU WOULD EXPECT JUST FBI AGENTS. THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF SUCH CASES, AND I KNOW. I KNOW LAWYERS WHO HAVE ENGAGED IN EXTORTION, AND SOME OF WHOM HAVE BEEN PUNISHED, SOME HAVE NOT BEEN. THESE ARE SERIOUS MATTERS.>>Harris: WE DID LEARN THAT THERE WAS A STATEMENT THAT WAS PUT OUT ON STORMY DANIELS ON FEBRUARY 19TH. “WE INFORM STORMY DANIELS IN WRITING THAT WE WERE TERMINATING HER LEGAL REPRESENTATION.” THIS IS OFTEN ODDITY. “VARIOUS REASONS THAT WE CANNOT DISCUSS PUBLICLY DUE TO ATTORNEY HAVING CLIENT PRIVILEGE PRAY THIS IS NOT DECISION MADE LIGHTLY AND IT CAME AFTER LENGTHY DISCUSSION, THOUGHT, AND DELIBERATION AS WELL AS CONSULTATION WITH OTHER PROFESSIONALS. WE WISH YOU STORMY ALL THE BEST.” MICHAEL AVENATTI, SOME WOULD SAY, BECAME FAMOUS FOR PRESENTING THE ADULT PORN STAR AGAINST THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OVER A PAYMENT THAT SHE BASICALLY WANTED TO GIVE BACK SO THAT SHE COULD BE RELIEVED OF A NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENT. I WANT TO GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY JUST TO TALK ABOUT THAT CASE IN PARTICULAR WITH THIS, AND THE IDEA THAT YOU BELIEVE A CLIENT AHEAD OF SOMETHING LIKE THESE CHARGES.>>WELL, HE MAY HAVE BEEN FIRED OR MAY HAVE LEFT. WE DON’T KNOW. REMEMBER, TOO, A LAWYER REPRESENTING SOMEBODY LIKE STORMY DANIELS OR STORMY DANIELS COULD THEMSELVES BE GUILTY OF EXTORTION IF THEY SAID TO THE PRESIDENT WHO WAS REPRESENTATIVE THAT, UNLESS YOU PAY ME MONEY, WE WILL PUBLICLY DISCLOSE THE AFFAIR. THAT, TOO, WOULD BE EXTORTION. LAWYERS HAVE BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT HOW THEY FRAME COMPLAINTS IN SITUATIONS LIKE THIS. REMEMBER, THIS IS A BAD DAY FOR MICHAEL AVENATTI, BECAUSE HE ALSO WENT ON TELEVISION AND PROMISED THE AMERICAN PUBLIC THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP WOULD NEVER SERVE OUT HIS TERM. “YOU CAN COUNT ON IT, YOU CAN BE SURE.” “HE’S GOING TO BE IMPEACHED, HE’S GOING TO BE INDICTED.” HE’S BEEN WRONG ABOUT JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. BUT I DON’T GET ANY GREAT JOY FROM SEEING A LAWYER INDICTED ON THE SUCH SERIOUS CHARGES THAT COULD RESULT IN DISBARMENT AND SIGNIFICANT PRISON TERM.

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