Former South Dakota House majority leader dies
Avenatti says he won't run for president in 2020
Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, announced Tuesday that he will not run for president in 2020, ending speculation that he could challenge President Trump.
"After consultation with my family and at their request, I have decided not to seek the presidency of the U.S. in 2020," Avenatti said in a statement shared on Twitter.
"I do not make this decision lightly - I make it out of respect for my family. But for their concerns, I would run."
Avenatti noted that he will continue to represent Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in her lawsuit against Trump and that he will not rest until the president "is removed from office, and our republic and its values are restored."
"I remain concerned that the Democratic Party will move toward nominating an individual who might make an exceptional president but has no chance of actually beating Donald Trump," Avenatti said. "The party must immediately recognize that many of the likely candidates are not battle tested and have no real chance at winning."
"We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter," he added. "I remain hopeful the party finds one."
Avenatti's announcement comes only weeks after he was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence. Mareli Miniutti, the actress who brought the allegation against Avenatti, filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court last month in an attempt to get a restraining order against him.
Avenatti has fiercely denied the allegations and has said that he will be fully exonerated.
The attorney gained a high profile this year as he represented Daniels in her lawsuits against Trump and the president's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Daniels sued the two over a nondisclosure agreement meant to keep her quiet about an alleged affair she had with the president more than a decade ago.
Avenatti became a regular on cable news networks because of the case, and in July he began discussing a potential presidential run.
But Avenatti's relationship appeared to be at odds with Daniels after she claimed last week that he sued Trump for defamation without her permission. A federal judge dismissed the suit in October.
Daniels also said that Avenatti declined to tell her how much money he raised for her legal defense through a crowdfunding site.
Avenatti told Politico that he gave a "full and complete accounting" of the fundraising effort. He also told the news outlet that his presidential prospects had "only gone up" in recent weeks.
He told The Hill as recently as Sunday that he was "still seriously considering" challenging Trump for the presidency.
Updated at 12:39 p.m.