Avenatti, Dershowitz debate gets personal

Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz get into a heated discussion over the taped conversations between President Donald Trump and his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Posted: Jul 29, 2018 6:38 PM
Updated: Jul 29, 2018 6:38 PM

Renowned legal scholar Alan Dershowitz chastised attorney Michael Avenatti in a tense exchange Friday night, saying the combative lawyer who represents adult film star Stormy Daniels committed a legal ethics violation in a New York City restaurant.

Specifically, Dershowitz said by approaching the President's former attorney, Michael Cohen, in the restaurant without first seeking the approval of Cohen's counsel, Avenatti went too far, too fast.

"If you weren't given permission to have that conversation with Michael Cohen you may have to ... answer to an ethics committee," Dershowitz told Avenatti, while both men were speaking on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

Dershowitz was referring to reports that Avenatti pitched Cohen on working together against Trump at a chance dinner encounter last week, at Scalintella on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

But Avenatti said Dershowitz didn't know what he was talking about.

"Alan, you really need to start talking only about things that you know about as opposed to things you have no knowledge about," he said. "You have no knowledge of the communications that went on between me and Michael Cohen's representatives ... long before that restaurant meeting."

"You just make it up as you go along," he added. "You need to go back and concentrate on what invites you get at Martha's Vineyard, since that appears to be what you are really good at."

Avenatti was referring to Dershowitz's complaint, in June, that he was being shunned from social gatherings in Martha's Vineyard ever since he supported President Trump on some key legal issues and argued against impeachment in his book "The Case Against Impeaching Trump."

Avenatti declined to say whether or not he had actually received permission from Cohen's lawyer, saying that he had received permission from Cohen himself, which Dershowitz argued wasn't enough.

Later in the conversation Avenatti accused Dershowitz of being cozy with Trump, who recently tweeted a recommendation of his book, and questioned the Harvard professor's bones fides, when it came to legal ethics.

"Alan, I feel sorry for the students you taught legal ethics to, by the way, because you didn't teach the truth," Avenatti said.

"Well they've become justices of the Supreme Court, judges, some of the most important people in America," Dershowitz fired back. "If you had been in my class you would not have had the conversation with Michael Cohen."

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