A Los Angeles judge on Wednesday upheld a temporary restraining order against lawyer Michael Avenatti after allegations of domestic violence by his former girlfriend.
The restraining order stems from actress Mareli Miniutti’s allegations from November that Avenatti abused her. Neither he nor Miniutti appeared in court on Wednesday, where Superior Court Judge Susan Lopez-Giss continued the hearing for two months.
A New York-based lawyer for the actress, Michael Bachner, is still working on paperwork to be able to represent her in California and attended the hearing via phone, the Daily Beast reported. He told the judge that Miniutti could not attend the hearing due to illness.
Avenatti’s lawyer Richard Beada didn’t object to the extension of the temporary restraining order. The next hearing is set for March 13.
Avenatti told the Daily Beast after the hearing that “the parties agreed and stipulated to the extension of the restraining order and they jointly requested that the hearing be put over — the hearing was a big nothing.”
Miniutti, a 24-year-old Estonian actress, described in court documents an argument with Avenatti about money.
“He dragged me on the floor of the apartment towards and out of the door into the public hallway,” she wrote in the declaration. “I was wearing only my underwear and a T-shirt at the time, and suffered scratches to the bare skin on my side and leg.”
“He dragged me on the floor of the apartment towards and out of the door into the public hallway.”
Avenatti allegedly also hit her face with pillows and followed her into a guest bedroom where she went to sleep alone.
Avenatti insisted the allegations against him are fabricated, tweeting that “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.”
The incident, which effectively ended Avenatti’s flirt with a possible 2020 presidential run, led to him being arrested.
But the Los Angeles District declined to file felony domestic abuse charges last year, instead sending the case to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office to determine whether to file a misdemeanor charge. It remains unclear if Avenatti will be charged.