What Has Longtime Trump Antagonist Michael Avenatti Defending Donald Trump… from Prison?!

AP Photo/Richard Drew

In a tweet no one saw coming, disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti issued a defense of former President Donald Trump’s First Amendment rights… from his California jail cell.

The longtime Trump antagonist, who once represented porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against him, slammed the judge overseeing the New York hush-money case for expanding the gag order against the forty-fifth president.

On Thursday’s show, Megyn was joined by attorneys Dave Aronberg and Mike Davis to discuss Avenatti’s shocking X post and what comes next for Trump in his New York trial.

Avenatti Defends Trump

Avenatti is currently serving a 14-year jail sentence in a California prison for stealing millions of dollars from his clients, including Daniels, and tax fraud. Even so, the disgraced attorney managed to post on X about the amended gag order ruling issued by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan on Monday.

Echoing Megyn’s criticism of the order, Avenatti said Trump should not be singled out. “We can’t be hypocrites when it comes to the 1st Amendment,” he tweeted. It is outrageous that [Michael] Cohen and Daniels can do countless TV interviews, post on social, & make $$ on bogus documentaries – all by talking shit about Trump – but he’s gagged and threatened with jail if he responds.”

Cohen and Daniels, who are both witnesses in the case, have been making the media rounds in the leadup to the trial that is set to begin April 15. Cohen has been a regular on MSNBC, while Daniels is promoting a documentary made about her relationship with Trump. Merchan has not imposed similar restrictions on either.

While Megyn agreed with Avenatti’s assessment, she was stunned by the defense. “What on earth is happening,” she asked. “He was Trump’s chief antagonist, not to mention [Justice Brett] Kavanaugh, and he sees the light now that he is in prison?”

Aronberg believes the convict may have ulterior motives. “He really wants a pardon,” he explained. “He is very transactional… we know this from his previous convictions, and so I think he is just angling for a pardon because he knows he is not going to get one from [President Joe] Biden.”

The Gag Order

Merchan amended the gag order against Trump after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent him a letter last week voicing concerns that prospective witnesses and jurors could fear retribution à la the forty-fifth president’s recent social media posts about Merchan’s daughter.

Trump had gone after Judge Merchan’s daughter, Loren Merchan, on his Truth Social platform. “Judge Juan Merchan is totally compromised, and should be removed from this TRUMP Non-Case immediately,” he posted last Thursday. “His Daughter, Loren, is a Rabid Trump Hater, who has admitted to having conversations with her father about me, and yet he gagged me.”

Loren is president of Authentic Campaigns, a Chicago-based political consulting group with progressive leanings and ties to politicians like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and major Democrat fundraisers like Senate Majority PAC.

While the initial gag order in the case limited Trump’s public remarks about jurors, witnesses, and “family members of any counsel or staff member,” the updated version extends to the family of Merchan and Bragg.

Could Trump Face Jail Time?

In this case, Trump is facing 34 counts related to illegally falsifying business records when reimbursing Cohen for making ‘hush money’ payments to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. He has pleaded not guilty.

During an interview on CNN, former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann made the pitch that Trump could end up facing jail time in this case because he is “a recidivist” who is “running as an outlaw” and not respecting the court.

In Davis’ view, such an outcome seems impossible but would clinch the 2024 election for Trump. “If Democrats think they’re going to put President Trump in prison over this, I welcome it,” he said. “That will guarantee that President Trump wins by like five points on November 5, 2024, because this is the dumbest case.”

Aronberg agreed that Trump going to prison is unlikely, but he wouldn’t rule it out completely. “I think there is a 25 percent chance he gets a prison sentence,” he said. “I agree with [Weissmann] that he could based on his behavior. The judge can take all that into account – his lack of remorse and the fact that he’s been doing it for years.”

He does not, however, believe “recidivist” is the right way to classify the former president. “We use ‘recidivism’ here at the local level [to describe] a career criminal with a long rap sheet,” Aronberg noted. “Even though he’s been charged in three other cases, he’s never been convicted of anything in the past… But I do think there is a 25 percent chance he gets prison time.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Aronberg and Davis by tuning in to episode 758 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.