Multitaskers Michael Avenatti and Stormy Daniels Are Now Taking on ICE
First they came after Donald Trump, and now they’re coming for immigrants. Not content to rest on the heady laurels of their slow takedown of the Commander of Cheese and his boy Cohen, Michael “Basta” Avenatti and his client Stormy Daniels are each gearing up to flex their new power against the cowardice and cruelty that defines the United States Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Though he tells The Washington Post that it all started with a California family asking for help, Avenatti publicly entered the fray on Sunday morning—via a tweet soliciting referrals to families in need of his services, as outrage over the separation of families at the border threatened to boil over.
Those referrals came in quickly, as did offers of resources. On Monday, Avenatti declared high expectations for his latest legal assault on this oh-so-wrong administration.
It does not matter who started the family separation policy. Even if it was @BarackObama (it wasn't), Trump has consistently bragged about his ability to end Obama's policies. But now he claims he can't end this one?!?! This is now Trump's draconian policy and it should end now.
By Tuesday, he had an itinerary to meet with his new clients.
We will be mtg with mothers tmrw at detention centers in Texas in an effort to reunite them with their children. I wonder if Mr. Trump or Mr. Miller have ever even been to a detention center or if instead, they just issue draconian policies from their tower in Washington. #Basta
Avenatti met with the mothers first, on Wednesday.
We are discovering that most of our clients have had their children shipped away across many states (1,000 miles is not unusual). Some are facing deportation without their children and do not know if they will ever see them again. This is permanently destroying families. #Basta
He shared their heartbreak, anxieties, and oh, their letters.
Here is a ltr from my client Lilian, in custody, to her 7 yr old daughter Britany (in pic with mom long ago). Lilian has no idea where they took Britany and ICE will not tell her. Lilian is about to be deported without her daughter, who she fears she will never see again.
The stories weren’t the same, but one thing was consistent...
Many of these mothers are devout Christians. Here is a letter written yesterday by my client Alma, who is in custody, to her 12 yr old boy Mario, who was taken from her. She has no idea where he is. At one pt, she was threatened he would be killed. This is not America. #Basta
...these women have no idea where their children are.
Here is a letter my client Levis just wrote to her 6 yr old son Samir, whom she has not seen or comm with in over 2 weeks. They told her he was being taken for a “bath” & would be brought right back. He is a gentle boy and very attached to his mother. She is terrified. #Basta
Avenatti provided a translation of Levis’ letter that you can find here.
Avenatti also shared this rage-inducing image of the form that parents in custody—like his client Lilian, pictured with her daughter above—are given when they seek information about their stolen children.
Here is the form my client Lilian (in custody) completed this am trying to get information on her 7 yr old daughter. We are desperate to find out where she is being held before Lilian is deported without her. The response is the normal one for almost every mother I represent.
Here’s Lilian’s request, loosely translated:
Good morning, could you please send me the phone number to communicate with my daughter Britany?
The official’s response? “I do not have this information.”
Today, we met with 12 more detained mothers one on one in CA and TX to hear their stories and agree to assist them in their efforts to find their children. The sadness and pain they are experiencing cannot be described. We will not rest until this policy is changed. #Basta
I have witnessed a lot of drama, pain, and sadness in my legal career. And I have had many moments of doing everything in my power to hold myself together. I have never witnessed anything this upsetting. I will never forget. Toughest day of my career by far. Perhaps of my life.
Avenatti’s team continued to meet with the mothers, in both Texas and California, before preparing for Thursday’s meetings at a children’s holding facility in Arizona.
Looking forward to visiting detained children tmrw in Phoenix who were shipped there from Texas after being taken from their detained mothers (my clients). This will be their first "contact" with their mothers in weeks. I will be delivering letters and messages of love and hope.
Things took a dramatic turn overnight, though. Suddenly, Avenatti and his team were no longer just helping at the micro level—the lawyer announced Thursday that whistleblowers were now coming forward to help him break the wheel, to paraphrase the Mother of Dragons.
We are now representing whistleblowers within ICE, outside contractors, etc. They have reached out to us to provide us with info as to what is really going on. We are going to blow this wide open and take the info to the American people so they can decide what happens next.
He also met with Levis’ son Samir, who didn’t believe his mom still cared about him. After all, he was told he was going away for a bath two weeks ago, and hasn’t seen or heard from her since.
Meet Samir, Levis’s six yr old boy (pic taken after we read his mother’s letter to him). For the first hour, he kept saying “not true” when we would tell him his mami loved him and she sent us to him. He asked us to take this to his mami - he said it showed a princess like her.
It only took two weeks for Samir to lose faith in his mother’s love. After just two weeks, it took an hour to re-convince him of a truth he’d known his entire life. Samir was just one of four children Avenatti and his team were able to visit, out of the 60 families they’ve taken on as clients.
It’s no secret that this trauma can and likely will affect these children (and their parents) for the rest of their lives—as well as future generations.
Critics of Avenatti predictably claimed he was just doing this for the attention; others wondered if he’d still have time to destroy the president with the Daniels case.
Meanwhile, Stormy Daniels responded to a Twitter plea (from a random account with 22 followers) with a promise of her own.
I am headed down in a week. Don't worry. Just figuring out my best course of action to maximize my resources.