The Avenatti Strip Show - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Avenatti Strip Show

Once upon a time, a stripper and her lawyer joined forces to accuse a Republican presidential candidate of having an extramarital affair. After claiming that she had a one-night stand with the candidate, the stripper became an instant celebrity with a lucrative book deal while a worshipful corporate media touted her lawyer as a promising contender in Democrat presidential politics.

I’m talking, of course, about the saga of Stephanie Clifford a/k/a Stormy Daniels, her rabidly aggressive mouthpiece, Michael Avenatti, and Donald Trump.

At the height of their popularity, Daniels and her lawyer made quite a splash. The exultant media hailed her accusation as the silver bullet that would surely expose Trump as an amoral sleaze who had cheated on his wife and had meretriciously denied it. Pearl-clutching talking heads on CNN and MSNBC huffed and puffed their outrage and revulsion at Trump’s gross indecency. How, they sputtered, can this randy rich guy hold himself out as worthy of occupying the sacred precincts of the White House?

Last week, the prosecution’s case reached a climax when Daniels testified that Avenatti “lied to me almost every day for five months” and claimed that she was “beyond furious” when she realized he had stolen her money.

Surely, they gleefully predicted, Trump’s straitlaced religious supporters would turn on him now that he had been exposed as a philanderer. The left’s excitement bordered on the orgasmic as it contemplated the destruction of his candidacy.

Only nothing happened.

What the media, the stripper, and her lawyer failed to grasp was that in life timing is everything. Prior to the 1970s, Daniels’ story most assuredly would have been a major and likely fatal political setback. But, by 2016, American society had undergone a dramatic transformation that, ironically enough, was largely the result of the left’s political, educational, and cultural agenda. After the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the decades-long publicly financed tidal wave of out-of-wedlock births, the concomitant breakdown of the family and traditional family values, Hollywood’s mass market glorification and normalization of sexual license and, last but not least, the pants-down presidency of Bill Clinton, the standard to which Americans held their political and public leaders had been drastically lowered.

Far from recoiling in disgust, the majority of voters merely shrugged. As in “A one night stand? So, what’s the problem?”

Maybe Daniels was telling the truth and maybe she wasn’t. But either way, even if some voters were concerned, the country was facing issues of far greater import. To say nothing of the fact that voting for Hillary Clinton, the chief enabler of her husband’s near pathological sexual antics, hardly constituted a meaningful moral alternative.

Which is not to say that Daniels’ accusation was totally unproductive. Far from it. With Avenatti’s help, she contracted with St. Martin’s Press for an $800,000 advance on a tell-all memoir titled Full Disclosure which pornographically detailed her alleged 2006 tryst with Trump.

Published in 2018, the book features an introduction in which Avenatti states that Daniels “doesn’t try to pretend she is something she isn’t.… That is very refreshing. And it is something to be cherished.”

And, according to Daniels, when she received the first installment on the book advance, Avenatti praised her as “an American hero” who deserved the money and then added, “I love you Stormy Daniels.”

It was a beautiful relationship, and all was well on the Love Boat until 2019 when it hit an iceberg.

Daniels’ payments stopped coming, and, believing that the publisher wasn’t honoring its contractual obligations, she repeatedly complained to Avenatti. When that yielded no satisfaction, she contacted her literary agent who produced documentary proof that, unknown to Daniels, Avenatti had arranged for the money to be paid into an account under his control.

One thing led to another, and now Daniels is the chief witness for the prosecution in a federal wire fraud and identity theft case against her former lawyer which is currently on trial in the Southern District of New York. The feds claim that Avenatti purloined almost $300,000 of the book money, while he counters that the case is nothing more than a fee dispute.

Last week, the prosecution’s case reached a climax when Daniels testified that Avenatti “lied to me almost every day for five months” and claimed that she was “beyond furious” when she realized he had stolen her money.

And then Avenatti — who is representing himself — forcefully cross-examined his former client. I don’t know if this attack impressed the jury, but Avenatti certainly succeeded in raising some interesting and entertaining questions about how Daniels’ brain works.

For openers, Avenatti asked her about her claim that she can communicate with spirits.

Q: How do you speak to the dead?

A: It just happens sometimes.

Q: Are you able to have conversations with them?

A: Sometimes. I record them. Like remote viewing into peoples’ homes.

Avenatti then explored her experiences while living in a haunted house in New Orleans in 2019. Daniels acknowledged that she had experienced poltergeist phenomena, saw shadow figures, and heard strange sounds and “unexplainable voices”.

She also testified that a “reiki” scan by an energy-healing practitioner had disclosed a “blockage” in her head that caused memory loss and bleeding out of her eyes, ears, and nose.

Happily, the bleeding stopped when she moved out of the haunted mansion.

But why was she there in the first place? It was due to her role on “Spooky Babes,” a yet to be aired paranormal television show in which she claims the ability not only to communicate with the dead but also with a “haunted doll” named Susan who calls her “Mommy.”

And there was this exchange:

Q: From time to time you pull up in front of a house in an Uber and you talk to the house?

A: It’s a TV show.

Q: So you’re making it up?

A: No.

There’s more, but you get the idea. Because these two grifters have turned on each other, we now have sworn admissions by Daniels that she has — to put it kindly — a fanciful imagination and a touch-and-go relationship with the truth. Which, of course, raises the question as to whether she had exhibited similar tendencies to Avenatti while he was promoting her lurid smear of Trump.

If the media had known of Daniel’s penchant for fantasy in 2016, would it have changed its coverage of the story? Of course not. Since her tale derogated Trump, that alone was enough for the media to uncritically use it to portray him as a moral leper.

But, for those wishing to separate fact from fiction, Avenatti’s cross-examination of Daniels has confirmed what many believed from the beginning: given the source, her sordid tale never warranted serious consideration.

So it is that, in a weird way, we owe Avenatti a debt of gratitude. By forensically stripping his former client bare, he has exposed her bizarre thought processes and lack of probity as well as his unprincipled willingness to use them for his own benefit.

As for the outcome of the trial, I hope he gets convicted. If that happens, then Avenatti and Daniels will have succeeded in destroying each other, which would be a just and happy ending to the story.

George Parry is a former federal and state prosecutor. He blogs at and can be reached by email at

George Parry
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George Parry is a former federal and state prosecutor who practices law in Philadelphia and blogs at
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