Judge Extends Restraining Order Against Michael Avenatti
While ex-girlfriend Mareli Miniutti tries to secure a lawyer to represent her in California.
A judge kept a temporary restraining order against Michael Avenatti in place today after he was accused of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend.
Avenatti and his ex Mareli Miniutti did not appear at the Santa Monica Courthouse today where a judge continued the hearing for two months while the actress's New York-based lawyer completes paperwork to represent her in California. Miniutti's lawyer, Michael Bachner, attended the hearing by phone from New York and told Judge Susan Lopez-Giss that he had filed his application but was "still waiting for the ok" on it.
He also told the court Miniutti, 24, is currently in New York and has the flu. Avenatti's lawyer, Richard Beada, did not object to the continuance and the judge set the next hearing for March 13. He declined to comment after the short hearing.
Later, Avenatti told The Daily Beast: "The parties agreed and stipulated to the extension of the restraining order and they jointly requested that the hearing be put over—the hearing was a big nothing."
Miniutti accused Avenatti of dragging her out of his expensive Los Angeles apartment and calling her an “ungrateful bitch” during a row last November. She also claimed he "forcefully" hit her in the face with bed pillows. Avenatti, 47, denies the allegations and tweeted at the time he has "NEVER abused a woman or committed domestic violence against anyone." He also told the press the claim was "bogus" and he will be "fully exonerated".
Miniutti, an actress originally from Estonia, said in her court filing that she had dated Avenatti since Oct. 2017 to Nov. 13 last year when the alleged incident happened. She also alleged Avenatti "has a history of being very verbally abusive and financially controlling" toward her.
The celebrity lawyer—who is famous for representing Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit with President Donald Trump and also for briefly considering a run for president himself—was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence after the row.
However, the LA District Attorney declined to file felony domestic abuse charges in the case and handed it to the LA City Attorney's office to decide if a misdemeanor charge would be brought. There has not yet been a decision by the City Attorney's office.
Speaking after today's hearing Miniutti's lawyer Bachner told The Daily Beast the LA City Attorney's office is "still reviewing" the case.
Asked if his client still wants them to press charges against Avenatti, he said "yes," but said he couldn't comment on whether the City Attorney had interviewed her further about the case.
Bachner added that he sees no reason he won't be granted permission to represent Miniutti in California by the next hearing and that he expects her to attend it.