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R. Kelly lawyer feud gets personal: ‘He has a Ferrari and I have a Maserati’

Steve Greenberg (left) and Michael Avenatti | Sun-Times/Troy Clossen; AP

These tweets ain’t so sweet!

Last May, Chicago attorney Steve Greenberg tweeted out a “love” note to attorney Michael Avenatti, who has a penchant for grabbing national headlines.

“We should find a case to try together. I love watching you work. @MichaelAvenatti.”

Well, that was then.

RELATED: Read our coverage of the R. Kelly investigation

It’s war now.

Since then, Greenberg and Avenatti have become internet enemies, sparring and spewing in the Twittersphere like two proverbial cats from Kilkenny. Avenatti says Greenberg is “embarassing.” Greenberg calls Avenatti a “coward.”

The war of words was ignited when Avenatti went on the warpath to lock up R. Kelly, who is represented by Greenberg. Kelly was charged last week with sexually abusing four people dating back to 1998, including three underage girls.

Avenatti has provided the Cook County State Attorney’s Office with documents and sex tapes allegedly showing R. Kelly having sex with a minor and says he represents one of the people mentioned in the criminal charges.

So what started the spar war?

On Feb. 14, Avenatti tweeted a statement confirming he had turned over the video to law enforcement and said it allegedly showed the singer having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

That day, Greenberg sent a tweet giving “credit to Avenatti for moving his alleged fraud from the focus to my client.” That was in apparent reference to reports that Avenatti had given up control of his California law firm after a former partner alleged he used its assets to finance an over-the-top lifestyle.

In response to Greenberg’s tweet, Avenatti replied: “Credit to you for managing to gain an acquittal for a child molester and put him back on the street so that he could continue engaging in sexual assault of underage girls.”

Greenberg, however, was not R. Kelly’s attorney during the trial in which the singer was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008.

The next day Avenatti referred to Greenberg as “a hack criminal attorney.”

Then, as Greenberg told Sneed in an interview this week: “He blocked me on Twitter.”

Greenberg said up until that point, he thought Avenatti, who rose to prominence as the attorney for Stormy Daniels, the porn star who had an affair with Donald Trump, ran a decent legal practice.

“My understanding was he was a fine lawyer, but he should get back in his lane,” Greenberg said. “He should be professional. Some of what he says might be right, some wrong. But why insult me in this form of pitchfork justice?”

Greenberg took offense at Avenatti’s criticism of his legal skills. “He doesn’t know anything about me. What an a–hole. He’s grandstanding. I’m not going to debate him about my legal abilities!” he told Sneed.

On Twitter, though, Greenberg posted details of his track record in court and told Avenatti he had won more criminal cases than “you have … in your entire life.” He ended that tweet: “Have a nice flight back to wherever you came from. Bye.”

Greenberg has told the press Avenatti should be “criminally investigated” for the way he handled the child pornography tapes allegedly involving R. Kelly, after some of the tapes ended up in the hands of a CNN reporter.

Avenatti, who is also never at a loss for words, told Sneed he didn’t remember the tweet valentine Greenberg had posted last May 9. He blamed Greenberg for the feud.

“I started cooperating with investigators and turning over information to the state attorney’s office when he [Greenberg] started attacking me for no reason,” said Avenatti.

“He holds a press conference after his client’s arrest and talks about me personally.

“He’s also gone after me on social media,” Avenatti said.

“I’ve never worked with Steve. And I don’t work with people who purposely misstate the law and the facts. Everything he said about me is false.”

Why does Avenatti think he is being attacked? “I believe he will do anything to distract away from the abhorrent conduct of his client,” he said.

Greenberg, no shrinking violet, has told the media: “I think all the women are lying.”

“Unfortunately the state’s attorney has now succumbed to public pressure, to pressure from grandstanders like Michael Avenatti and [attorney] Gloria Allred, and brought these charges. Mr. Kelly is strong. He’s got a lot of support, and he’s going to be vindicated on all these charges, one by one if it has to be.”

Avenatti says Greenberg is the one who is unprofessional.

“Nothing says ‘I’m a professional and not grandstanding’ like taking selfies with the press moments before the bail hearing for your client, who is facing life in prison. #ClownShow,” Avenatti tweeted after Greenberg was seen taking cellphone pictures the day R. Kelly was charged.

Greenberg has another theory about why the two clashed: “He has a Ferrari and I have a Maserati. Maybe that’s why I am not up to his standards!”

On and on it goes.

Only this type of Twitter-styled American justice is not just stirred the pot, it’s sadly shaking it.

Sneedlings . . .

Saturday birthdays: Rebel Wilson, 39; Jon Bon Jovi, 57; and Ben Roethlisberger, 37. . . . Sunday birthdays: Camila Cabello, 22; Buddy Valastro, 42; Jessica Biel, 37, a belated birthday wish to PJ O’Dea, 93 and Ted Tetzlaff, priceless.