Michael Avenatti Arrested on Suspicion of Domestic Violence

Edvard Pettersson
Michael Avenatti Arrested on Suspicion of Domestic Violence

(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 Wednesday and remained 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,” 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 $50,000, the LAPD said in a tweet late Wednesday.

The Southern California attorney shot to fame with his impassioned attacks on Trump while representing Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. She claims to have had a tryst with Trump in 2006 and has sought in court to nullify a $130,000 "hush payment" deal she struck with 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, Clifford’s case made a TV personality of Avenatti. But her lawsuit was put into jeopardy when both Trump and Cohen declared that they won’t seek to enforce the non-disclosure agreement. To keep the case from being dismissed, Avenatti is trying to convince a federal judge that it’s in the public’s interest to get more details about the motivation behind the hush deal and where the money came from.

Avenatti was ordered by a California state judge in October to pay $4.85 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 $7 million. Avenatti’s current firm in Newport Beach, California, is called Avenatti & Associates APC.

(Updates with booking and bail information in fourth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Elizabeth Wollman at ewollman@bloomberg.net, Peter Blumberg

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