Judge Upholds Restraining Order Against Avenatti Over Domestic Violence Allegation

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A Los Angeles County judge has ruled to keep a temporary restraining order in place against Michael Avenatti, a lawyer and prominent critic of President Donald Trump, after an ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence.

Avenatti, who was accused of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend, actress Mareli Miniutti, did not appear at the Santa Monica Courthouse. Superior Court Judge Susan Lopez-Giss continued the hearing for two months so Miniutti's New York-based lawyer, Michael Bachner, could complete the paperwork to represent her in California, according to the Daily Beast. Bachner attended the hearing by phone, saying he filed his application but was "still waiting for the OK" on it.

Miniutti was also absent from the courtroom and recovering from the flu in New York, her attorney said. Richard Beada, Avenatti's lawyer, did not object to the continuance, prompting the judge to set the next hearing for March 13.

Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in November after the 24-year-old actress reported abuse allegations.

Miniutti accused Avenatti of dragging her out of his expensive Los Angeles apartment and calling her an "ungrateful bitch" during a row last November. She also claimed he "forcefully" hit her in the face with bed pillows. Avenatti, 47, denies the allegations and tweeted at the time he has "NEVER abused a woman or committed domestic violence against anyone." He also told the press the claim was "bogus" and he will be "fully exonerated".

Miniutti, an actress originally from Estonia, said in her court filing that she had dated Avenatti since Oct. 2017 to Nov. 13 last year when the alleged incident happened. She also alleged Avenatti "has a history of being very verbally abusive and financially controlling" toward her.

The celebrity lawyer—who is famous for representing Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit with President Donald Trump and also for briefly considering a run for president himself—was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence after the row.

Following the hearing, Bachner told the Daily Beast that the Lost Angeles city attorney's office is "still reviewing" the case. When asked whether Miniutti still wanted to press charges against Avenatti, he said, "Yes," but he wouldn't clarify whether the city attorney had interviewed her further. He also said he expects to be able to represent her in California by the next hearing.