Imprisoned attorney Michael Avenatti does surprise interview with MSNBC on Trump hush money case

Disgraced former attorney Michael Avenatti joined MSNBC for a surprise interview from prison Tuesday and discussed the New York hush money case against former President Trump, which he said was “stale.”

Host Ari Melber asked Avenatti, who rose to liberal media stardom in 2018 before flaming out spectacularly and landing behind bars, about the strength of the case.

“I think what I’m about to say is going to surprise a lot of people and that is that, you know, I think this is the wrong case at the wrong time, Ari. I think that the case is, in many ways , stale at this juncture,” Avenatti said, speaking on the phone from Terminal Island Prison in California.

He further explained, “You’re talking about conduct that occurred some eight years ago. I think the fact that it’s occurring in state court in New York is a mistake. And I think that when you are going to potentially deprive tens of millions of Americans of their choice for the presidency of the United States, whether we agree with those folks or not or regardless of what we may think of Donald Trump, I think it’s a mistake to do it based on a case of this nature.”

Michael Avenatti joins MSNBC from prison

Michael Avenatti joined MSNBC’s Ari Melber for an interview from prison to discuss the New York hush money case against former President Donald Trump. (Screenshot/MSNBC)


Melber, who appeared surprised by Avenatti’s response, asked if the former Stormy Daniels attorney had been in touch with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

He declined to answer whether he’d been in touch with Bragg, but argued that the case had a lot of problems. Avenatti argued that Trump wouldn’t get a fair trial in New York, and said he would likely be convicted.

“I don’t think he can get a fair trial in New York. And to the people who claim that in fact he can get a fair trial in New York with a New York jury, I would ask them if they were to go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow and find out that the case had been moved to Mississippi or Alabama, would they still think the trial was going to be fair? I think if they were being honest, they would answer no,” Avenatti said.

Avenatti suggested Bragg might bring Daniels and Michael Cohen in as primary witnesses, which he argued was a bad idea. He called Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and fixer who served prison time for tax evasion and campaign finance crimes, a “serial liar.”

Melber pushed back on Avenatti, who previously said Trump should have liability in this case, and argued for his indictment when he was president.

Michael Avenatti

Michael Avenatti speaks to members of the media after leaving federal court in New York on Feb. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)


“I advocated for the indictment of then sitting President Trump. I stand by that 100%. I advocated for federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York to bring campaign finance charges,” Avenatti said. “First of all, cases are not like fine red wine, Ari. They don’t get better with age. And this case hasn’t gotten better with age. Number two, I don’t believe this case belongs in state court and I think it rests on a legally tenuous theory, that the crime that was attempted to be covered up was a federal election crime.

Melber asked about details Avenatti mentioned previously that had not been made public. “Have those since seen the light of day? What are you referring to?” Melber asked.

Avenatti said he wasn’t sure if such evidence would come up during the trial and also told Melber that some of the things he learned from Daniels while representing him were completely untrue.

“I came to learn a number of things, unfortunately, from her [Stormy Daniels] that turned out to be completely untrue. And a lot of that is what led me to terminate my representation of her in February of 2019. One of the big things that I learned, unfortunately, is that what I had sold by Miss Daniels relating to how this payment had come about and what I had afterward advocated on television and others in reliance on what she had told me, turned out to be completely false,” he said.

Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti during a news conference.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels appears with her attorney Michael Avenatti during a news conference. Daniels has since said Avenatti used his powers for “evil” and he never trusted him. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

“It had been represented to me that she had not attempted to extort Donald Trump in the campaign in the waning days of 2016. That they had come to her and I believed her when she told me that repeatedly. Unfortunately, in early 2019, I came to learn that wasn’t true,” he said. He added that from a legal perspective, it didn’t really matter, but from an optics standpoint, it could.

Avenatti became popular in the liberal media after taking on Daniels as a client in 2018, as he made hundreds of appearances on CNN, MSNBC and elsewhere, Fox News Digital previously reported. He even appeared as a “guest co-host” on the ABC talk show “The View,” where Ana Navarro compared him to the “Holy Spirit.” “Lately to me, you’re like the Holy Spirit,” she said. “You are all places at all times. Right? I do, I see you all over cable news.”


Avenatti was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2022 for cheating four former clients out of millions of dollars and trying to obstruct the IRS from collecting payroll taxes from a coffee shop that he owned.

He was also already serving a five-year prison sentence for stealing $300,000 from Daniels and attempting to extort footwear manufacturer Nike out of $25 million.

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