Simon Law April 2019

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april 2019

Michael Avenatti Is Another Fool in a Long Line of Fools

O ne of the sad results of a reality TV presidency, where sound bites are more important than substance, is the very real danger that the spotlight is so addictive that morals and judgment go out the window. Let me start by saying the mere idea that this loud-mouth attorney would file a suit arguing that a porn star had her reputation tarnished was idiotic. That any of the networks thought that a lawyer with that poor caliber of judgment would make a presidential candidate is a testament to where we are. Slander and libel laws exist to protect reputations. When your client is a porn star who has signed hush money contracts, her reputation is mud. When you file a lawsuit claiming otherwise, you have lain with dogs and you will get fleas. Moving on from that foolishness, Avenatti has now been charged with extortion for threatening to go public with information that Nike allegedly was involved in paying players to play for certain colleges. Realize that such allegations would tarnish the company’s reputation, hurt the stock price, and possibly lead to criminal charges. Therein lies the problem. A lawyer in Georgia cannot explicitly threaten to go public with that information, especially when it could lead to the prosecution of a crime. Demanding a payoff in exchange for burying the information is textbook extortion. If a client has a case and the

public filing of it might harm the company or defendant, it may be implicit that the filing will have collateral harm, and that might encourage settlement of the underlying case, and that is fine. What this clown did is way beyond the pale. What is not legal or ethical is this situation where the lawyer allegedly did not even do this for the good of a client. He wanted Nike to pay him hush money, couched as a consulting fee, to not use his public platform and notoriety to elevate the story

of their alleged misdeeds in the public eye. Regardless of whether Nike did wrong or not, what he is accused of is illegal, and he should be ashamed. Being a lawyer means you have to play by the rules and be cleaner than the next guy. I am saddened that this fool’s name was ever raised in conjunction with the presidency. We have fallen a long way indeed.

–Christopher Simon

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