Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels amid her legal battles with President Donald Trump, was arrested Wednesday on a felony domestic violence charge, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The 47-year-old attorney, who denied the allegations of domestic violence, was released on $50,000 bail. His Wednesday afternoon arrest came after police took a report on Tuesday of the alleged incident, which police say occurred at a residence on Santa Monica Boulevard near Beverly Hills.
While the identity of the subject of the alleged abuse was not made clear by officials, TMZ initially reported that it was Avenatti's estranged wife, Lisa Storie-Avenatti. However, the news outlet backed off its reporting after her attorneys issued a denial.
"Ms. Storie-Avenatti was not subject to any such incident on Tuesday night," her attorneys told BuzzFeed News.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that the LAPD obtained an emergency protective order, which prohibits Avenatti from going near the alleged victim.
Following his release on bail, Avenatti held a brief news conference, saying, "I have never struck a woman. I will never strike a woman," adding that he's looking forward to the investigation and is confident that he'll be "fully exonerated."
"I wish to thank the hard working men and women of the LAPD for their professionalism," he said in a statement, adding that "they were only doing their jobs in light of the completely bogus allegations against me."
"I have never been physically abusive in my life nor was I last night. Any accusations to the contrary are fabricated and meant to do harm to my reputation. I look forward to being fully exonerated," he said.
TMZ reported that there was a confrontation between Avenatti and his alleged victim Wednesday, the day after the alleged abuse took place, at an exclusive apartment building in the Century City area of Los Angeles. The woman was allegedly on the sidewalk on her cellphone, screaming, "I can't believe you did this to me. I'm going to get a restraining order against you."
Security reportedly brought her inside the building, which Avenatti allegedly entered minutes later, saying, "She hit me first." Police reportedly escorted him into a corner of the apartment lobby and spoke with him for five to 10 minutes before taking him into custody.
Avenatti has become well-known as Daniels' attorney in a high-profile lawsuit against Trump, in which Daniels is asking to be released from a 2016 agreement that gave her $130,000 in what she has described as "hush money" in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual relationship with Trump.
Trump has described Avenatti as "looking for attention" and a "total low-life."0comments
Avenatti has also represented Julie Swetnick, who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. "I am not going to be intimidated from stopping what I am doing," he told reporters, according to NPR.
Photo credit: Tara Ziemba / Stringer / Getty