Kathy Griffin and her attorney said Friday that President Trump and his family are trying to "ruin" the comedian over a gruesome photo shoot that depicted the president's severed head covered in fake blood.
Attorney Lisa Bloom also said the comedian has been contacted by the Secret Service in the wake of her controversial photo shoot. Bloom said Griffin has retained a criminal attorney, who also appeared at a Friday press conference in which Griffin apologized again for the images she and celebrity photographer Tyler Shields posted on Tuesday.
Griffin said she will not refrain from joking about Trump in the future and that she has received "constant" and detailed death threats over the photos. She described Trump as a "bully" and characterized the widespread condemnation as a "mob mentality pile-on."
"If you don't stand up, you get run over," Griffin said. "A sitting president of the United States and his grown children and the first lady are trying to ruin my life forever. I know him."
She added, "I am teasing the president because this is America."
At Friday's news conference in Woodland Hills, Bloom said the depiction of Trump's head covered in fake blood was not intended to encourage an act of violence. She said the shoot was in part a response to comments made by Trump during the presidential campaign when he described then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly as having "blood coming out of her wherever" after a debate involving the Republican candidates.
"It was a parody of Trump's own sexist remarks taken to an extreme, absurdist visual," Bloom said.
Griffin apologized within hours of the images appearing online. They were met with swift and widespread condemnation.
In her initial apology, Griffin said, "I'm a comic. I crossed the line. I moved the line, then I crossed it. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn't funny."
Trump later tweeted that Griffin "should be ashamed of herself" for posting the images. First lady Melania Trump said the content of the video is disturbing and raises questions about Griffin's mental health. Donald Trump Jr. said the picture was "disgusting but not surprising."
He called Griffin's apology "phony."
"For the first time in history that we are aware of, the president of the United States and his family are attempting to ruin a comedian," Bloom said Friday.
The images prompted CNN to fire Griffin from her decade-long gig hosting a New Year's Eve special with Anderson Cooper.
The 56-year-old comic has faced controversies before for her abrasive humor, but none as widespread as the one generated by Tuesday's images. At least four venues announced that they canceled her performances due to the severed head photoshoot.
Venues in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have nixed shows. The Community Arts Theater in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, posted on its website that the show had been dropped "due to the recent controversy surrounding Kathy Griffin and the concern for the safety and security of our patrons and staff."
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) said Friday he had dis-invited Griffin from an event promoting his new book, "Giant of the Senate." Franken said he heard from constituents "who were rightfully offended," leading the Minnesota Democrat to change his mind from earlier, when he had said she was still welcome.
He said he takes seriously that Minnesotans were upset by her behavior, which he characterized as "inappropriate and not something that should be anywhere" in the national discourse.
Donald Trump Jr. went after Griffin on social media following the presser, posting she has made a point of targeting Baron Trump.