Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives at United States Court in New York, July 23, 2019.
Mike Segar | Reuters
The firebrand attorney Michael Avenatti is back considering a run for the Democratic nomination for president after he declared last year he wouldn’t take part in the contest.
Avenatti, who in the past represented porn star Stormy Daniels against the likes of President Donald Trump and his then fixer Michael Cohen, told CNBC late on Friday that he is yet again contemplating entering the expansive 2020 arena.
“Never say never,” he said when asked if he’s going to get into the race. “The Dems need a non-traditional fighter. They have a lot of talent but not a lot of fighters.” He later noted that the odds of him getting into the race are at 50/50 and he could make his decision in a few months.
“I don’t think I need to make a final decision for a number of months. I have the name ID and everyone knows I’m one of the few effective fighters that the Dems have,” he said.
For Avenatti, those comments are a reversal from his announcement late last year when he said that he’s ruling out a 2020 run.
At the time, he was raising money for a potential 2020 campaign through his own political action committee, The Fight PAC. Data collected by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows that the committee spent $25,000 on Break Something LLC, a major Democratic consulting firm. It also invested $13,000 on plane flights and more than $5,000 on hotels. The PAC is still active and has raised over $20,000 so far this cycle, according to its latest Federal Election Commission filing. It currently has $3,540 on hand.
As he’s watched the almost two dozen candidates square off in the primary debates, Avenatti says he continues to believe Democrats don’t have the fighter that can take on Trump come the general election and suggested he could be the candidate to beat him.
“I am increasingly concerned that the Dems don’t have the right fighter to go toe to toe with Trump,” he said. “And the future of the republic and our way of life is on the line. He is a brawler who has no bounds. The Dems need a guy who can match him punch for punch. I may be that guy.”
Still, Avenatti said he has a “number of things to deal with” before deciding whether he will jump into the race.
He was arrested in New York in March for an alleged $20 million extortion scheme against Nike. A month later, federal prosecutors in California indicted Avenatti on three dozen counts including stealing money from clients and lying to regulators about his income. He has denied wrongdoing in both cases.
He also says he’s representing three alleged victims of sexual abuse from R&B star R-Kelly. The famed musician has denied those accusations.
For anyone who doubts him, Avenatti said this:
“To those that call me a ‘criminal’ – first, I haven’t been convicted of anything by Trump’s DOJ and second, the biggest criminal in America is currently in the White House.”