Mareli Miniutti, a 20-year-old actress from Estonia, reportedly filed a domestic violence restraining order against television lawyer Michael Avenatti after accusing the 2020 Democrat hopeful of domestic violence last week, a report claims.
In an apparent response to the report, Avenatti reaffirmed his innocence and said he looks forward to “clearing his name.”
“I have NEVER abused a woman or committed domestic violence against anyone. Any claim to the contrary is completely bogus and fabricated,” he tweeted. “I am a target. And I will be exonerated.”
Avenatti, the lawyer for pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, has previously denied allegations of domestic violence following his arrest near his Los Angeles skyscraper apartment.
“I have never struck a woman, I never will strike a woman,” Avenatti told reporters last Wednesday after being booked and posting $50,000 bail.
Avenatti said he has been an advocate for women’s rights his entire career and is confident that he will be exonerated.
Police did not immediately disclose details about the arrest incident, but Officer Tony Im, an LAPD spokesman, confirmed the victim has visible injuries.
Avenatti became famous representing Daniels, the porn actress who alleges she had an affair with President Donald Trump in 2006 and has sued to invalidate the confidentiality agreement she signed days before the 2016 presidential election that prevents her from discussing it. She also sued President Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, alleging defamation.
The Vermont Democratic Party canceled events planned for Friday and Saturday where Avenatti was scheduled to speak, and they refunded ticket sales.
The restraining order is one of a long list of legal entanglements facing Avenatti, which includes a possible criminal investigation by the Justice Department. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked for a criminal investigation into whether Julie Swetnick and Avenatti conspired to provide false statements to Congress and obstructed a congressional investigation during the confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Grassley wrote in a letter to the Justice Department that Swetnick and Avenatti made serious allegations that required significant resources to investigate. However, Grassley says information from media interviews and elsewhere indicates their statements “likely contained materially false claims.”
“I don’t take lightly making a referral of this nature, but ignoring this behavior will just invite more of it in the future,” Grassley said in a statement.
Avenatti released a sworn statement in which Swetnick said she witnessed Kavanaugh “consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women in the early 1980s.” Kavanaugh denied the allegations and an FBI background check cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Additionally, Avenatti was ordered last month to pay $4.85 million to an attorney who worked at his former law firm, a California judge ruled. The Los Angeles judge ordered the payout the same day a separate ruling came down evicting Eagan Avenatti LLC from its office space in Southern California after four months of unpaid rent.
In the case over back pay, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis Landin ruled that Avenatti personally guaranteed a settlement with attorney Jason Frank, who said Eagan Avenatti misstated its profits and that he was owed millions of dollars.
Last Friday, the judge upheld his order to evict Avenatti’s law firm from a Newport Beach office for failing to pay $213,000 in past-due rent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.