Michael Avenatti, the Southern California attorney who has repeatedly sparred with Donald Trump over the president’s alleged affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels, is not expected to face criminal charges in connection with a 2018 domestic violence allegation lobbed by his then-girlfriend, officials said Friday.
Avenatti and his ex-girlfriend will instead have separate hearings with staff from the Los Angeles city attorney’s office in the near future, though the office reserves the right to file charges against the attorney until the statutes of limitations expire, according to Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the office.
“The city attorney’s office has reviewed all of the reports in this matter and considered all of the evidence,” the office said in a statement. “This matter has been set for city attorney hearings in which both the victim and the suspect will have an opportunity to be heard on different days. The victim will be advised of services available to her.”
The hearings have not been scheduled and will not be open to the public, Wilcox said. The most serious charge Avenatti likely would have faced — injury to a spouse or cohabitant — has a statute of limitations of three years. Avenatti also could have been charged with battery, which has a statute of limitations of one year, Wilcox said.
Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence on Nov. 14, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. In a filing seeking a restraining order, Avenatti’s ex-girlfriend said a fight about money led the attorney to shove her, twist her arm and drag her out of their luxury West Los Angeles apartment.
According to court records, the woman and Avenatti began dating in October 2017. She said she had lived with Avenatti since the beginning of 2018.
During the argument in November, Avenatti cursed at the woman, calling her “ungrateful” before hitting her in the face with pillows, court documents show.
“Do not disrespect me. You don’t get to sleep in my house tonight,” he said, according to the filing.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to bring felony charges against Avenatti a week later.
The attorney, who was at one time considered to be a possible presidential candidate in 2020, has vehemently denied the accusations. At one point, he suggested the allegations were somehow driven by an Orange County conservative conspiracy theorist.
Avenatti said Friday on Twitter that every “purported victim” should have the opportunity to have their claims investigated, and he thanked local law enforcement for its handling of the case.