Avenatti, Dershowitz debate turns ugly, personal

Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti debated renowned constitutional scholar and former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” on Friday night. And things got pretty ugly. And personal.

It all started when Dershowitz, who has taught legal ethics for 35 years, said it would be unethical for Avenatti to talk directly to Michael Cohen without getting the express permission of Cohen’s lawyer. Avenatti said he received permission from Cohen himself, to which Dershowitz responded, “That’s not enough.”

“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.

As to that, Dershowitz is right. Such conduct would expressly violate rule 4.2 of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The rule could not be more clear: “In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized to do so by law or a court order.”

So, even if Avenatti did receive permission from Cohen himself, it would not be enough for him to contact Cohen directly without his counsel beside him.

We don’t know for sure if this took place, but Avenatti did not ever say he has permission from Cohen’s lawyer, despite being asked.

Instead, Avenatti fired back, disagreeing with the very premise that this would be a rule violation.

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

And Avenatti turned things personal shortly after that.

“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… Alan, I feel sorry for the students you taught legal ethics to, by the way, because you didn’t teach the truth,” Avenatti said.

To this jab, Dershowitz quickly responded, “Well they’ve become Justices of the Supreme Court, judges, some of the most important people in America.”

And to finish off the topic, Dershowitz said, “If you had been in my class you would not have had the conversation with Michael Cohen.”



  1. Robert Metoyer says

    Avanatti is barking up the wrong tree. Come on, a porn star two bit lawyer against a veteran Harvard law professor. Give me a break. This guy is just making airtime. Sounds like to me he’s balancing on the fence of disbarrment.

  2. Sheila says

    Avenatti is as rude and condescending as they come. Alan Dershowitz is a man of integrity, knowledge and class.

  3. Rob says

    Although Dershowitz is too liberal for my liking, He is a brilliant man and has forgotten more than that rude punk Avenatti has or will ever learn.

    1. sidney weiner says

      Dershowitz is an old timer & his politics makes sense,…….if he was back in 1950!
      Many older people see the Democrats as they were 68 years ago & this is just no longer true.

      1. Larry says

        Sidney, yes democrats are not like 1950, but that is not necessarily better. At least they had good values. Dems today have stood on their shoulders while the party drowned!

    2. Platonics says

      Maybe he is just trying to get a job in the WH

  4. Maude Jenkins says

    Dershowitz rolls over that troll – like watching Batman smack Robin!! I shudder to think just how many attorneys there are like Avenatti. Lawd hep us all!!

  5. Fred Hewitt says

    In my view this legal ethics matter is quite minor. Why all the fuss?

    Professor Dershowitz is not ethical or moral-he is just another lawyer. Just like Presidents of recent memory, Clinton, Bush and Obama and members of our Congress.
    Their approach to law is not to do what’s right, but to do what carries the least political risks .

    Professor Dershowitz boast about having taught some of our high court judges, rings quite hollow to me.

    Historically, We, the people, have been tremendously hurt by the decisions of our noble judges.

    1. Laurence Haines says

      Fred, Professor Dershowitz is the most ethical lawyer I am aware of. I am a lawyer and work with lawyers all day long. The purpose for the ethical rules is so that lawyers don’t get unfair and unethical advantages. I am very aware of why lawyers get disbarred. Mr. Avenatti is going to be disbarred based on his behavior, not just in speaking to a represented party without permission of his lawyer, but for all the other outrageous and ridiculous things he has done and is doing, not the least because of his positions he has taken in the bankruptcy court when he failed to adhere to a settlement agreement on taxes and other non-dischargeable debts approved by the bankruptcy court.

      As an attorney Mr. Avenatti embarrasses me and Professor Dershowitz makes me proud.

      You have no idea what you are talking about. Which law school did you graduate from?

  6. Jo8 says

    Anyone who would hire that scumbag lawyer is a fool and anyone who would vote for him as a POTUS is a bigger fool.
    But then the man has the ethics Democrat have become known for so he’ll get lots of vote.

  7. Pal says

    What else can expect from Avenatti, he was taught by leftist Turley, and has worked with Rahm Emanual. Rumors of deep state connections also.

  8. CG says

    Alan Dershowitz is a well respected lawyer and a man with integrity …Avenatti is NOT.

  9. Marlene says

    If Avenatti knows so much why s he so much in debt with IRS and others? I think he is a stupid lawyer and Dershowitz is a very smart person. Anyone that takes on Stormy can’t be to smart. Glad he was put in his place.

  10. Platonics says

    So now we know, the teacher of students who later become justices of the Supreme Court .
    What a mess they have made misinterpreting the Constitution : the Second amendment alone has made the Homeland a killingfield awashed with blood . Dershowitz should be disbarred.

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