The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday said it is declining to pursue felony domestic abuse charges against Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who gained national fame after he sued President Trump on behalf of an adult-film star, and referred the case to the city attorney for possible misdemeanor charges.
Avenatti was arrested last week on suspicion of domestic violence, stemming from an incident involving a onetime girlfriend, Mareli Miniutti.
Miniutti alleged she was physically and verbally abused by Avenatti, according to her attorney. She filed a request for a temporary restraining order against him, which a Los Angeles Superior Court judge granted Monday. Avenatti has called the allegations “completely bogus.”
The district attorney’s office declined to comment on its decision not to prosecute and refer the case to the city attorney.
Frank Mateljan, spokesman for the city attorney, on Wednesday confirmed the referral. The case is under review, he said, declining to provide further information.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Avenatti maintained his innocence.
“I am thankful that the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has rejected filing any charges against me after a fair, careful and thorough investigation. I have maintained my innocence since the moment of my arrest,” Avenatti said.
“This Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful for justice,” he said.
Michael Bachner, Miniutti’s attorney, said he is confident that the case will be charged as a misdemeanor by the city attorney.
“Although we are disheartened by the decision of the District Attorney’s Office, we are not necessarily surprised by it. We are confident, however, that the city attorney, upon review of the facts, will determine that the misdemeanor charge is appropriate. It’s fully warranted,” Bachner said.
As an attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, Avenatti has fashioned himself into a high-profile antagonist of Trump. He has said he is considering running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
During an appearance Thursday at England’s student debating society, Oxford Union, Daniels said she was reserving judgment about the allegations.
“If the allegations turn out to be true, then I will definitely be seeking new representation, because I cannot condone or support someone who is abusive,” she added.