LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Southland attorney Michael Avenatti, who was recently arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and is best known for representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, said Tuesday he will not run for president in 2020.
Avenatti has floated the possibility of seeking the presidency, and said in a statement that he made his decision “out of respect for my family.”
“But for their concerns, I would run,” Avenatti said. “I will continue to represent Stormy Daniels and others against Donald Trump and his cronies and will not rest until Trump is removed from office, and our republic and its values are restored,” he said. “I will also continue with my nearly 20 years of speaking truth to power and representing those who need an advocate against the powerful.
“I remain concerned that the Democratic Party will move toward nominating an individual who might make an exceptional president but has no chance of actually beating Donald Trump. The party must immediately recognize that many of the likely candidates are not battle-tested and have no real chance at winning. We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter. I remain hopeful the party finds one.”
Avenatti shot to fame with his representation of Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago and then was paid off to keep quiet about it before the 2016 presidential election.
The 47-year-old attorney was arrested Nov. 14 in Century City and booked on suspicion of felony domestic violence – an allegation he has repeatedly and vehemently denied. The District Attorney’s Office declined to file any charges against him, referring the case to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for consideration of possible misdemeanor charges.
The case is still under review by the City Attorney’s Office, a spokesman for the office said.
Last month, an aspiring actress named Mareli Miniutti obtained a temporary restraining order against Avenatti. Miniutti, 24, claimed in court papers that she and Avenatti began living together in January and said they got into an argument over money, during which he allegedly called her “ungrateful.”
She claims in court papers that Avenatti “forcefully” hit her in the face with pillows” and dragged her along the floor and into a hallway, causing scratches on her side and leg. According to her court papers, she managed to get out of the apartment and a friend eventually picked her up, after which she called police.
Avenatti’s attorneys, Evan Jenness and Richard Beada, issued a statement saying the couple had an argument, during which Miniutti “behaved in a volatile, agitated and irrational manner.”
“However, Mr. Avenatti did not inflict any corporal injury or cause any traumatic condition upon Ms. Miniutti,” they said.
Following his arrest, Avenatti told reporters, “I have never struck a woman,” and he has suggested his arrest was politically motivated.
“I never will strike a woman,” he said. “I have been an advocate for women’s rights my entire career, and I’m going to continue to be an advocate. I am not going to be intimidated from stopping what I am doing. I am a father to two beautiful, smart daughters. I would never disrespect them by touching a woman inappropriately or striking a woman. I am looking forward to a full investigation at which point I am confident that I will be fully exonerated.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)