Michael Avenatti, the firebrand lawyer who gained notoriety and infamy from representing Stormy Daniels against President Donald Trump, said Tuesday he will not run for president in 2020 after exploring the possibility for months. Avenatti’s announcement comes after he was arrested for suspected domestic violence in Los Angeles last month.
“After consultation with my family and at their request, I have decided not to seek the Presidency of the United States in 2020,” Avenatti wrote in a statement he posted on Twitter. “I do not make this decision lightly - I make it out of respect for my family. But for their concerns, I would run.”
Avenatti’s presidential exploration wasn’t just hot air, he formed a political action committee, purchased a voter database used by the Democratic Party, and worked with a former adviser to Hillary Clinton. Avenatti made appearances in the early presidential primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, advocating for a strategy of direct and merciless attacks on Trump to defeat him for a second term.
“What I fear for this Democratic Party that I love so much is that we have a tendency to bring nail clippers to a gunfight,” Avenatti said during a speech in Iowa in August. “When they go low, I say, we hit harder.”
His prospective presidential campaign came to a sudden halt in November when LAPD officers took Avenatti into custody over accusations he physically assaulted an ex-girlfriend named Mareli Miniutti. Avenatti denied the claims, saying it was part of a plot by right-wing activists to smear him.
“I obviously cannot comment in detail at this time but what I can say is I am entirely innocent and did nothing wrong,” Avenatti previously told The Daily Beast.
Last week, Avenatti had a public spat with his famous client who accused him of filing a defamation lawsuit against Trump without her permission. Daniels also accused him of not disclosing how money he solicited for her legal defense was being spent.