And I found more recently when I dug into the Cohen story that for all Mr. Farrow’s attraction to screenplay-ready narratives, he missed one that was made for this moment. The real story of John Fry, the I.R.S. employee who leaked Mr. Cohen’s records, went like this: Amid the swirl of the scandal involving Stormy Daniels, Mr. Avenatti, her lawyer, took to Twitter one day in May 2018, and demanded that the Treasury Department release Mr. Cohen’s records.
Mr. Fry, a longtime I.R.S. employee based in San Francisco, was one of the legions of followers of Mr. Avenatti’s Twitter account, and had frequently liked his posts. Hours after Mr. Avenatti’s tweet that day, Mr. Fry started searching for the documents on the government database, downloaded them, then immediately contacted Mr. Avenatti and later sent him Mr. Cohen’s confidential records, according to court documents. ‘John: I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate this. Thank you,’’ Mr. Avenatti wrote to Mr. Fry, according to the documents, then pressed him for more.
Mr. Fry ended up pleading guilty to a federal charge of unauthorized disclosure of confidential reports this January. In Mr. Fry’s defense, his lawyer said he had been watching ‘hours and hours’ of television, and described him as ‘a victim of cable news.’
— Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True?, Ben Smith in The New York Times