Michael Avenatti defended his threats to sue reporters at the Daily Caller Monday, telling CNN’s Don Lemon that it was a justified course of action when dealing with reporters who were “not ethical.”
“All journalists are not ethical, just because they’re a journalist. There’s good journalists and there’s bad journalists. There’s ethical journalists and unethical journalists,” said Avenatti on the Monday evening show.
“If we encounter journalists that don’t get their facts straight by design, don’t follow the basic rules of journalism, purposely skew stories to fit their own political dialogue of what they want the message to be, we’re going to continue to call them out on that. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Lemon didn’t back down, challenging Avenatti to explain how his conduct was different than Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen — who is also known for issuing colorful threats to reporters.
“I think you’re talking apples and oranges,” said Avenatti. “My email is no different than a cease and desist or retraction type email or letter that is received by numerous media organizations on a consistent basis and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Despite his numerous appearances on multiple programs, Avenatti made what was widely taken as a major misstep on Monday after threatening to sue Daily Caller reporters Peter Hasson and Joe Simonson over this piece probing into some legal matters in his past.
In an email marked “off the record,” Avenatti warned that he would take on the Caller and reporters personally and exact “significant” financial damages if the stories were to continue.
“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. “If you think I’m kidding, you really don’t know anything about me. This is the last warning,”
Hasson promptly leaked the email on Twitter, where it swiftly drew bipartisan condemnation from journalists.