US star lawyer Avenatti arrested on domestic violence suspicions

November 15, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for an adult film star engaged in a legal battle with Donald Trump, was arrested in Los Angeles on a felony domestic violence charge, police said Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Police Department tweeted that the star attorney was booked in the afternoon and his bail was set at $50,000.

The 47-year-old lawyer posted bond and was released late Wednesday. He will make his first court appearance December 5, according to The Los Angeles Times.

In a statement, Avenatti denied any wrongdoing.

“I have never been physically abusive in my life nor was I last night,” he said. “Any accusations to the contrary are fabricated and meant to do harm to my reputation.

“I look forward to being fully exonerated.”

“I have never struck a woman,” Avenatti told reporters after his release. “I never will strike a woman.”

“I have been an advocate for women’s rights my entire career and I’m going to continue to be an advocate.”

According to the celebrity website TMZ, Avenatti was allegedly involved in a dispute with an unidentified woman on Tuesday and was arrested on Wednesday following a second confrontation.

The website initially identified the woman as Avenatti’s estranged wife, Lisa Storie Avenatti, but she issued a statement to NBC saying he had never been violent with her.

Avenatti has been a thorn in the side of the US president as the attorney for Stormy Daniels, who is suing Trump to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement made days before the 2016 presidential election over an alleged sexual encounter she had with him.

Rumors have swirled for months over the prospect of Avenatti launching a presidential bid in 2020, when Trump will seek re-election.

The lawyer was slated to attend Democratic party events in the eastern US state of Vermont, but the upcoming appearances were cancelled following his arrest.

In recent months the lawyer has faced mounting legal and financial problems linked to his firm in Newport Beach, California.

In addition to Daniels, his clients have included Julie Swetnick, who said she witnessed sexually abusive behavior by Brett Kavanaugh, the US Supreme Court justice whose volatile confirmation process was marked by multiple accusations of sexual assault when he was in high school and college.

If found guilty of the charge of domestic violence, Avenatti faces up to four years in prison.

Daniels in July was arrested for inappropriately touching patrons at a strip club in Ohio, an incident Avenatti had slammed as a “politically motivated” setup aimed at discrediting her.

The charges against Daniels were quickly dropped.