Last week Jack Dickey of Sports Illustrated published a neat look at the history of Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her suit against President Trump. I recommend reading it, as it’s been a strange route to this moment of sudden cultural prominence for Avenatti: before he was a litigator taking on the President of the United States, Avenatti was a race car driver competing in some of racing’s most prestigious events.
Here’s the part that stuck out to me: in 2011, Avenatti took on the NFL as the representative of fans whose purchased seats at Super Bowl 45 at Cowboys stadium were unavailable due to “construction snafus.” Avenatti found a way to get Cowboys owner Jerry Jones himself on the stand, where the two apparently became enemies for life:
He’s still proud of the judge’s order he got compelling Jones’s testimony, and he’s prouder still of his combative exchanges with Jones on the stand.
“When Mr. Jones came off the stand and walked by counsel table on his way out of the courtroom, he was staring at me in a way that no one has stared at me before,” Avenatti says. “My co-counsel—a former federal prosecutor—leaned over to me and said, ‘I’ve never seen a human being look at another human being with such hatred in their eyes.’ I wear that as a badge of honor.”
The case was reportedly a thorough ass-kicking: according to the report, the jury rewarded Avenatti’s clients $76,000 in damages just days later. The NFL is a massive, incredibly powerful business, and Jerry Jones is probably the single most powerful person in its history. I’m guessing there aren’t too many people on earth who can gloat about the time they took him to the cleaners in open court and walked away with the spoils of victory. Read the dang report, is what I’m saying.