Prosecutors allege Avenatti may have violated terms of prison release
Prosecutors alleged Sunday that Michael Avenatti, former attorney to Stormy Daniels, may have violated his temporary prison release agreement by using a computer with internet access.
CNN reported that court filings from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California accused the celebrity lawyer of violating “the conditions of his temporary release by using his third-party custodian Jay Manheimer’s internet-accessible computer to draft his last five filings in this case.”
“At a minimum, defendant and his counsel have not been candid with this Court,” prosecutors continued, alleging that Avenatti used a computer owned by his friend, Jay Manheimer, to access the internet in order to write and file motions in his case.
Avenatti’s attorney Dean Steward responded in a filing denying the government’s allegations, claiming that the prosecution’s accusations were based on an erroneous understanding of metadata information and rejecting the idea that Avenatti’s team had misled the court about his access to a computer.
“Mr. Avenatti has not violated any of his conditions of release,” the filings read. “Mr. Avenatti is able to review documents with his counsel via email between Mr. Manheimer and counsel. Mr. Manheimer is then able to print those documents for Mr. Avenatti to review.”
Avenatti was released from jail in April after a judge granted him temporary release due to concerns brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the agreement, he was not supposed to leave his house or access the internet.
“We’re really gratified that the judge took the action that he did. He recognized the seriousness of the situation. Unfortunately, there are a lot courts across the country that have not. We’re fortunate,” Steward said at the time of his client’s release.
Avenatti was convicted in February of attempting to extort up to $25 million from Nike, the global apparel brand. He is also awaiting further charges over his legal representation of Daniels, an adult-film star who has accused President Trump of having an affair, in New York.
Updated at 1:20 a.m. on June 8.