Michael Avenatti, who was launched into the spotlight earlier this year as the attorney for Stormy Daniels, the exotic dancer who claims to have had an affair with President Trump, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on felony domestic violence charges. However, since news broke on Wednesday evening, it’s become increasingly unclear who was involved in the incident, and what exactly occurred.
TMZ originally reported the arrest around 5:45 EST on Wednesday, saying that Avenatti’s estranged wife Lisa Storie-Avenatti had filed a complaint against him and had been seen with bruises on her face, but amended their story after Storie-Avenatti’s attorney released a statement saying the claims were false.
“Ms. Storie-Avenatti was not subject to any such incident on Tuesday night. Further, she was not at Mr. Avenatti’s apartment on the date that this alleged incident occurred,” the statement said. “My client states that there has never been domestic violence in her relationship with Michael and that she has never known Michael to be physically violent toward anyone.”
Storie-Avenatti also told CNN’s MJ Lee, “I haven’t see Michael in months. It’s a complete fabrication. It’s a lie. It’s all a lie.”
TMZ amended their story, saying, “The incident involved a different woman.”
Avenatti made a brief statement to press after being released on $50,000 bail Wednesday evening, thanking the Los Angeles Police Department for their professionalism and saying, “They had no option in light of the allegations.”
“I have never struck a woman, I never will strike a woman,” he said. “I have been an advocate for women’s rights my entire career, and I’m gonna continue to be an advocate. I am not going to be intimidated.”
He later tweeted, “I did not strike my ex-wife in the face nor did I hit anyone else in the face. I am a decent man & I look forward to being exonerated.” When reached for comment, Avenatti referred Rolling Stone to his tweets.
The LAPD tweeted on Wednesday, “This is an ongoing investigation and we will provide more details as they become available.”
Avenatti represented Daniels in a defamation suit against Trump over some tweets saying that her claims of being threatened to keep quiet about their alleged affair were “a total con job.” The lawsuit was recently dismissed when a judge ruled the President’s assertions within the realm of normal political “rhetorical hyperbole.” He also represents her in an ongoing lawsuit aimed at invalidating the nondisclosure agreement she signed regarding her involvement with President Trump, and just this week, Avenatti told Rolling Stone that he and Daniels are considering legal action against the Columbus, Ohio police department over Daniels’ arrest at a strip club in July that they maintain was baseless and politically motivated.
Daniels told the Daily Beast that she is withholding judgment on this matter until more details are made public. “These are serious and obviously very troubling allegations, but right now that is all they are: allegations,” she said. “We should all reserve judgment until the investigation — an investigation Michael has said he welcomes — is complete, and that’s what I’m going to do. But of course I do not condone violence against women and if these allegations prove true I will be seeking new representation.”