Screenshot: MSNBC

Earlier tonight, you may have heard that Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels in her ongoing legal action against Donald Trump, had pictures of Trump’s hog.

The source was one Claude Taylor, aka @TrueFactsStated:

The tweet has, of this posting, been shared over 4,000 times; cruelly, however, it wasn’t true.

Here’s what Avenatti actually said, in response to a question from MSNBC host Ari Melber about the alleged physical threats against Stormy Daniels, and why Avenatti hadn’t included those allegations in his filings:

Ari, you know as a good lawyer yourself, that good lawyers don’t play their entire hand on the first go-around. We have a lot of information, a lot of evidence, a lot of documents that haven’t come to light yet. Numerous pieces of evidence, numerous facts, and we’re not going to show our hand.

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That’s it. Nothing about dicks; nothing even about pictures, just vague, lawyerish statements about “evidence” and “documents” that “haven’t come to light yet.”

It is, sadly, a phantom dick. An invisible peen. The Hog That Wasn’t There.

The source of the claim should’ve been a big hint that the claim was false. Taylor is a former low-level Clinton administration staffer and sentient Twitter account who, along with his partner-in-crime Louise Mensch and other online #Resistance types, magically became an expert on Russia and corruption after the election.

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More recently, however, Taylor’s credibility took a huge hit; in August, it was revealed by the Guardian that he had fallen prey to a hoax by someone who claimed to be an employee in the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who fed Taylor information he did absolutely no work to verify, and which turned out to be complete bullshit:

“Taylor asked no questions to verify my identity, did no vetting whatsoever, sought no confirmation from a second source – but instead asked leading questions to support his various theories, asking me to verify them,” the source said in an email.

[...]

In his emails, Taylor pushed the source for sensational material. Three days after she first contacted him, Taylor asked her: “Is there anything you have heard that’s really going to shock people? An ‘Oh my god!’ sort of thing?” In another message, Taylor conceded that he may have been “going farther than I should” by posting tweets that exaggerated the false tips she was giving him.Thousands of people have reposted the false claims tweeted by Taylor, a former staffer in Bill Clinton’s White House. Mensch, a former member of parliament in the UK, retweeted at least 18 posts by Taylor that were based on the hoaxer’s false information, spreading them further afield.

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If we can’t trust this man with reporting accurate information on something as trivial as foreign influence on our elections, how could we possibly put our faith in him to give us the facts on this most essential question facing American democracy: what does Donald Trump’s dong look like?

Avenatti may or may not have pictures of Trump’s wiener. But if he does and those pictures become public, chances are that you won’t find out through an unsourced tweet or even this website, but rather the sound of sirens and the smell of burning plastic, as society as we know it will have completely broken down.

In the interview with Melber, Avenatti also revealed that he “hasn’t received a single request” to go on Fox News. You can watch the interview here.

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Update, 10:28 A.M ET, 03/20/2018: We reached out to Avenatti to ask him if the “evidence” he hasn’t revealed yet included one or more pictures of Trump’s pebis. His response? “No comment.” Not exactly a denial!