The LA District Attorney has decided not to file felony charges against Michael Avenatti, however, the attorney isn’t completely out of the woods yet as the case is being referred to the City Attorney’s Office for possible misdemeanor charges:
A case presented today by #LosAngeles police involving attorney Michael Avenatti has been referred to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for misdemeanor filing consideration, the #LACounty District Attorney’s Office announced. @CityAttorneyLA @LAPDHQ #LADAOffice
— LA District Attorney (@LADAOffice) November 21, 2018
An attorney for Mareli Miniutti, the woman who made the claims that led to Avenatti’s arrest, says this was not unexpected and he expects misdemeanor charges to be filed. From KABC:
The DA’s office has referred Avenatti’s case to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office to review for misdemeanor consideration…
Michael Bachner, the attorney for Miniutti, issued a statement: “We are not surprised by this decision and we are confident that the misdemeanor charge will be sustained.”
Avenatti didn’t even mention the possibility of a misdemeanor charge. He issued a statement moments later saying he was “grateful for justice” as if he’s already been cleared.
My statement re the decision just issued by the LA County District Attorney's Office is below. pic.twitter.com/gCUBpMKP2f
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) November 21, 2018
According to this California law group, domestic violence is a “wobbler” offense in California, meaning it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. There is also a separate misdemeanor charge which could apply in this case: domestic battery.
The prosecutor may file charges of corporal injury to a spouse under California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Alternatively, the prosecutor may charge the defendant with domestic battery in violation of California Penal Code Section 243(e) PC. Domestic battery is a misdemeanor and usually involves physical contact that does not involve any injury, such as when there is pushing and shoving between a husband and wife.
Given that this is a first offense for Avenatti, the City Attorney could also agree to some sort of plea deal which would bring this down to something like disturbing the peace. We’ll have to wait and see how justice works in this case.
Avenatti’s reaction is a long way from his attempts to claim Judge Kavanaugh was guilty of conspiring to gang rape women in high school. Suddenly, with a very recent and credible accusation of violence being alleged, Avenatti’s message is that justice equals exoneration for the accused man.