Judge grants Mareli Miniutti a restraining order against Michael Avenatti

A Los Angeles judge has granted actress Mareli Miniutti a temporary restraining order against Michael Avenatti. According to a court filing, Miniutti alleges that he dragged her across the floor of his Los Angeles apartment after an argument. She wrote in a sworn statement that Avenatti shouted expletives and told her she was "ungrateful."

Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels and a prominent critic of President Trump, denies the allegations. He said in a tweet Monday, "I look forward to a full clearing of my name and disclosure of all of the facts. I have NEVER abused a woman or committed domestic violence against anyone. Any claim to the contrary is completely bogus and fabricated. I am a target. And I will be exonerated."

In the court filing dated Monday, Miniutti said she and Avenatti dated from October of last year to November 13 this year and lived together for most of that time, starting in January. She said in her statement that on November 13, the two argued about money. Avenatti then called her names and "forcefully" hit her in the face with bed pillows, she said.

She alleges Avenatti grabbed her phone, which she was using to text a friend, and dragged her into "the public hallway" while she was wearing only a t-shirt and underwear. She said she rang a neighbor's doorbell and that Avenatti then grabbed her again and pulled her back into his apartment. 

Eventually, she got into an elevator and went to the building's front desk, which called security, according to her account. She said she went to a friend's home and called police, who took her statement. 

She said she "suffered scratches to the bare skin" on her side and leg and had red marks on her left side. She alleges Avenatti "has a history of being very verbally abusive and financially controlling" toward her. 

The day after the alleged incident, on November 14, the Los Angeles Police Department said Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. After posting $50,000 bail, Avenatti denied the allegations, telling reporters, "I have never struck a woman. I never will strike a woman. 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 from stopping what I am doing." In a statement issued through his law firm, he slammed the allegation as "completely bogus" and intended to harm his reputation.

Avenatti has become a fixture on cable news and is exploring a bid for president in 2020. He rose to fame as the attorney for Daniels, who was allegedly paid off to keep quiet about an affair with Mr. Trump.

Avenatti is also the lawyer for Julie Swetnick, who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct that took place decades ago. Avenatti was blamed by some Democrats for undermining  efforts to block Kavanaugh's confirmation when Swetnick walked back some of her accusations. Avenatti has been referred to the Justice Department for an investigation into his and Swetnick's claims.

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