Journalists from across the ideological spectrum drew their knives Monday over Michael Avenatti. The attorney representing Stormy Daniels in her legal fight with Donald Trump received backlash after threatening to sue the Daily Caller for critical coverage of him.
“Let me be clear. If you and your colleagues do not stop with the hit pieces that are full of lies and defamatory statements, I will have no choice but to sue each of you and your publication for defamation,” said Avenatti in a Monday email that was addressed to Caller reporter Peter Hasson.
Hasson shared the letter on Twitter.
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) May 14, 2018
“If you think I’m kidding, you really don’t know anything about me. This is the last warning,” Avenatti added.
In his email, the megawatt attorney also threatened to exact “significant” financial consequences on individual reporters at the Caller.
Avenatti’s issue was with a Caller piece exploring a complaint from a local coffee bean distributor who accused Avenatti of stiffing him $160,000 — a charge the media hungry attorney has denied.
“I sent an email off the record. It should remain off the record. It speaks for itself,” Avenatti told TheWrap when asked to clarify the threat.
That response, however, didn’t sit well with powerful blue checks of media Twitter who laced into a man many have openly celebrated during his weeks of marathon TV appearances on CNN, MSNBC and beyond.
This is the sort of intimidation tactic, suggesting a complete contempt for what reporters do, that someone like Michael Cohen would use. https://t.co/X8Dm3PTTWC
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) May 14, 2018
You can’t say off the record and expect the reporter to abide by it if they didn’t agree beforehand. Also what evidence does Avenatti have the Daily Caller story was provided by Trump as he asserts here?https://t.co/tDLgWw3Hk8
— andrew kaczynski???? (@KFILE) May 14, 2018
Am obviously more sympathetic to Avenatti, in a lot of ways, than to the Daily Caller, but bullshit legal threats against journalists ALWAYS need to be called out. It's a terrible and irresponsible look. And something's not "OFF THE RECORD" just because you type it, of course https://t.co/t1Q1MuIPmD
— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) May 14, 2018
lol this email is bonkers https://t.co/BGxCKELfd3
— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) May 14, 2018
This would be getting more attention if it was a reporter for a mainstream or liberal publication and a lawyer representing the other side, but intimidating reporters is despicable no matter who it's directed at. https://t.co/1CB8oIerbH
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) May 14, 2018
I’ve found plenty to criticize in DC stories over the years, but the piece in question seems like a reasonably straightforward dig through public records. https://t.co/bVvYYWzOF3
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) May 14, 2018
And what an email it is https://t.co/B2U8azikio
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) May 14, 2018
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) May 14, 2018