Lawyer who sparred with Trump arrested on suspicion of domestic violence

VIDEO: REUTERS
Michael Avenatti (centre) leaves Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division after being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, in Culver City, California, on Nov 14, 2018.
Michael Avenatti (centre) leaves Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division after being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, in Culver City, California, on Nov 14, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (BLOOMBERG) - Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who's sparred with President Donald Trump on behalf of an adult film star and has flirted with running for President himself, has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.

Avenatti was arrested earlier on Wednesday (Nov 14) and remains in custody, said Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Mike Lopez, who declined to provide further details.

Avenatti praised the department for its “professionalism” while calling the allegations “completely bogus". 

“I have never been physically abusive in my life nor was I last night,” Mr Avenatti said in a statement issued by his law office. “Any accusations to the contrary are fabricated and meant to do harm to my reputation. I look forward to being fully exonerated.”

Avenatti, 47, was booked on a felony domestic violence charge and his bail was set at US$50,000 (S$68,857), the LAPD said in a tweet late on Wednesday.

The Southern California attorney shot to fame with his impassioned attacks on Mr Trump while representing Ms Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Ms Stephanie Clifford.

She claims to have had a tryst with Mr Trump in 2006 and has sought in court to nullify a US$130,000 (S$179,127) "hush payment" deal she struck with Mr Trump's longtime fixer Michael Cohen before the 2016 presidential election.

 

In the months leading up to Cohen's guilty plea in August to campaign finance violations, Ms Clifford's case made a TV personality of Avenatti. But her lawsuit was put into jeopardy when both Mr Trump and Mr Cohen declared that they won't seek to enforce the non-disclosure agreement.

Avenatti was ordered by a California state judge in October to pay US$4.85 million (S$6.68 million) to an attorney who worked with him at his former law firm, Eagan Avenatti LLP. Avenatti said at the time that the lawyer owes him more than US$7 million.

Avenatti's current firm in Newport Beach, California, is called Avenatti & Associates APC.