It’s clear The New York Timesis only concerned with jail conditions of politically controversial prisoners and defendants, depending on their pro- or anti Donald Trump views.
In one corner, we have Benjamin Weiser’s sympathetic, wholly credulous story about disgraced anti-Trump lawyer and former liberal media darling, “Once a Trump Foil, Michael Avenatti Says Jail Treatment Was Payback,” made Friday’s edition.
Avenatti was convicted and tried for trying to extort Nike $25 Million. Jailed in January 2020 and released in April 2020 at the height of the first wave of the Covid pandemic, he’s presently under home confinement.
The litigation-happy lawyer now is (shocker!) He files a lawsuit against the federal government. This time, he claims that the government is political persecution because he spent 94 days in isolation confinement. The mistreatment was allegedly done by Bill Barr, the former Attorney General.
But this same newspaper contemptuously downplayed claims of appalling jail conditions at the D.C. jail, when they emanated from pro-Trump “January 6” defendants, even playing the race card to denigrate the charges. Yet The TimesFound a credible source for a former liar, and anti-Trump hacker.
Michael Avenatti, who rose to prominence as the lawyer representing a pornographic film actress in lawsuits against former President Donald J. Trump and was later convicted of trying to extort Nike, is seeking millions of dollars in compensation for harsh jail conditions that he says were retaliation for his outspoken criticism of Mr. Trump.
“They treated him very differently than anybody else in prison,” one of his lawyers, Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, said on Thursday. “Once they had him in custody, they held him in a unit for violent criminals and terrorists.”
This was Avenatti’s most interesting claim.
When he asked for reading material, he said in his claim, he was initially refused and was then provided one book: “Trump: The Art of the Deal.”….According to Mr. Avenatti’s claim, “The employee explained that the orders came from the attorney general” — William P. Barr at the time.
Barr called the claim “ridiculous.”
That’s certainly not the tone the paper took with the defendants taken into custody after the Capitol Hill riots. Here was a November 2021 story by Alan Feuer that felt distinctly unsympathetic:
A few dozen men were held indefinitely for several months following the attack on Capitol Hill, Jan. 6, 2001. Have loudly and repeated their complaintsInformation about the District of Columbia prison conditions
Through lawyers, others raised concerns about guards, standing waste, food, water and other threats.
Washington local officials weren’t surprised to hear that none of the accusations of neglect were true. They have long complained about the conditions in jail. Some expressed disappointment that the jail had to be opened up for inspection by a few out-of-towners despite years of problems. The majority of the exterior is white.— The defendants will finally be able to get someone to take care of them.
(Incidentally Michael Avenatti, too, is white.
Feuer’s shockingly obtuse take on prison reform was met with greater racial pot-stirring.
Patrice Sulton is the DC Justice Lab’s executive director. She expressed frustration that the DC Justice Lab had to hear complaints from Jan. 6 defendants (mostly white) in order to make the authorities focus their attention on the jail conditions. Nearly all are Black.
“It just doesn’t sit well,” Ms. Sulton said.