The man who has styled himself a champion for abused women has been arrested by the LAPD on “suspicion of domestic violence.” That’s according to Buzzfeed which confirmed the arrest after it was first reported by TMZ. Avenatti is reportedly being detained while he gives a statement to the police but hasn’t been booked yet. The Hollywood Reporter says Avenatti was arrested today for a complaint filed yesterday:
Michael Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence on Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
A report for the alleged abuse was filed Tuesday, a Los Angeles police spokesman said.
TMZ initially reported that, according to law enforcement sources, Avenatti’s estranged wife had a “swollen and bruised” face. However, there is now an update at the site which reads: “We were initially told by our sources the alleged victim was Avenatti’s estranged wife. We now know it was not. The incident involved a different woman.” That dovetails with this statement from an attorney for Avenatti’s estranged wife to Buzzfeed denying she was involved:
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) November 14, 2018
In any case, TMZ also has an eyewitness who saw Avenatti and the unidentified woman shouting at an LA apartment complex today:
We’re told during Wednesday’s confrontation the woman ran out of the apartment building and was on the sidewalk on her cellphone with sunglasses covering her eyes, screaming on the phone, “I can’t believe you did this to me.”
We’re told security brought her inside the building and Michael showed up 5 minutes later, ran into the building, chasing after her. He screamed repeatedly, “She hit me first.” We’re told he angrily added, “This is bulls***, this is f***ing bulls***.”
One thing everyone agrees on, including the Associated Press, is that Avenatti was arrested. So there appears to be a real allegation against him by someone.
Okay, here’s my one caveat which I feel obliged to give: Avenatti hasn’t been charged yet and even if he is, he’s innocent until proven guilty.
With that out of the way, let’s just say that if this story holds up it will be one of the worst cases of hypocrisy in recent political history. Avenatti has made a name for himself trashing President Trump for his treatment of women. More recently, he jumped into the Kavanaugh confirmation with both feet, offering two unreliable witnesses one of whom claimed Kavanaugh had spiked the punch at parties to facilitate gang rape.
His whole persona has been as a progressive champion of women, not unlike Harvey Weinstein’s public reputation before the stories came out about him. Now the accuser has become the accused. That’s not a great look (again, if this pans out).
Here’s a question to ponder: Assuming this allegation doesn’t go away in the next few hours, does Avenatti’s most famous client drop him like a hot potato? It would be pretty awkward for Stormy Daniels to make her case against Trump with an alleged domestic abuser as her attorney. Does she decide it’s time to move on?
Just as significant to Avenatti’s future will be the reaction at CNN and MSNBC. Will the networks finally drop him now or will he get dozens of additional appearances to tell his side of the story? It’s hard to know which dumping would hurt him worse, CNN or Stormy. Either way, it’s hard to imagine his already flailing campaign for president going anywhere after this. I doubt this is what Democrats had in mind when he said the party needed a fighter.
Update: Avenatti denies any abuse, says he expects to be exonerated.
In a statement from his law office, Avenatti denied any allegation of abuse or violence: "I have never been physically abusive in my life nor was I last night." pic.twitter.com/4HmrF72it4
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 15, 2018
Update: Another update from TMZ saying there is a protective order requiring Avenatti to stay away from the alleged victim.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, the LAPD has already obtained an emergency protective order, prohibiting Avenatti from going near the alleged victim. We’re told they will serve him with the legal docs before he’s released from custody. We’re told he will be released on $50,000 bail.
Hard to believe the victim’s name will remain a secret much longer. I guess we’ll see.
Update: From the LAPD.
Update: We can confirm that Michael Avenatti (DOB: 02-16-71) was booked this afternoon on a felony domestic violence charge (273.5 PC). His bail is set at $50,000.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) November 15, 2018
Update: Here’s the video of Avenatti’s statement after his release.
Michael Avenatti addresses Los Angeles arrest: "I have never struck a woman. I never will strike a woman…I am looking forward to a full investigation, at which point I am confident that I will be fully exonerated" https://t.co/cnwTiOuwxR pic.twitter.com/7RSpTTWG74
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 15, 2018
He sounds confident but then he always sounds confident even when he’s wrong. He can say he’s an advocate for women all he wants but the bottom line is that he’s saying the woman accusing him is not telling the truth and shouldn’t be believed. That’s a contradiction he should be asked about the next 12 times he’s on CNN.