Disgraced television lawyer Michael Avenatti ― who was arrested Monday for a series of alleged financial crimes ― made dozens of appearances on CNN and MSNBC in a 64-day period last year, turning the anti-Trump personality into a “resistance” folk hero, according to a report.
U.S. prosecutors have charged Avenatti with extortion and bank and wire fraud. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles said Avenatti was arrested Monday in New York. Spokesman Ciaran McEvoy said the lawyer best known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump faces federal charges in New York and California. In New York, he was accused of threatening to use his ability to get publicity to harm Nike. Prosecutors say he demanded that the apparel company give him $20 million.
BREAKING: Attorney Michael Avenatti criminally charged with four counts of extortion and related conspiracy counts.
Press conference at 2:30 pm. pic.twitter.com/dXUXqITQMZ
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) March 25, 2019
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Avenatti appeared on CNN and MSNBC between March 7th and May 10th, 2018, at least 65 times and 43 times, respectively, for a total of at least 108 appearances. Further, by analyzing the length of each appearance using the media monitoring platform TVEyes.com, Free Beacon estimated Avenatti earned around $175 million in free media from the news networks.
A breakdown by the Free Beacon of Avennatti’s media appearances are as follows:
The total came out to $174,631,598.07 from at least 65 CNN appearances and 43 MSNBC appearances. Avenatti’s favorite shows include CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” (at least 20 interviews), MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (14), CNN’s “New Day” (12), CNN’s “Tonight with Don Lemon” (eight), and MSNBC’s “Deadline White House” (seven).
His cable hits have not nearly been the extent of his media blitz. Avenatti has also been featured on CBS comedy show “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Showtime’s “The Circus,” NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today,” ABC’s “The View,” HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” and network morning shows “Today,” “CBS This Morning,” and “Good Morning America.”
Monday’s development follows reports that Avenatti’s law firm filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month after his ex-partner alleged the television lawyer attempted to hide millions derived from legal fees.
The embattled lawyer was arrested in November on suspicion of domestic violence, but prosecutors have declined to bring felony charges against the attorney. They are investigating whether he should face a misdemeanor charge for allegations he roughed up a girlfriend. He has denied wrongdoing.
Avenatti, a Democrat who has positioned himself as a foe of President Trump, declined to run for the White House after the abuse allegations became public.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.