Michael Avenatti sues for $94m claiming he’s been tormented by Trump’s book in jail

Stormy Daniel’s former lawyer is claiming $1 million for each day he says he was held in solitary confinement or lockdown

Jade Bremner
Friday 14 January 2022 17:20 GMT
Donald Trump calls lawyer Michael Avenatti a 'con artist' and 'lowlife'
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Michael Avenatti is suing the US government under claims that he suffered brutal treatment in jail, including only being allowed Donald Trump’s book The Art of the Deal to read.

Avenatti, 50, is seeking $94m in compensation under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

“They treated him very differently than anybody else in prison,” one of Avenatti’s lawyers, Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, told the New York Times.

He is claiming $1m for each day he says he was held in 24-hour solitary confinement or lockdown. The filing alleges that he was placed in the “most restrictive part of the facility,” and only saw the sky once in 94 days.

Area “10 South”, the claim states, is composed of six to seven cells designed to hold the nation’s most dangerous criminals. Avenatti was allegedly given the cell that drug lord “El Chapo” of the Sinaloa Cartel was housed in.

Along with only being given Donald Trump’s book to read, his filing claims he was forbidden from “communicating with other inmates or covering himself while using the bathroom” and “was not provided with fresh air or recreation”.

“Claimant’s confinement to 10 South was retaliation for Claimant’s criticism of President Trump and other federal government employees, including the Attorney General,” reads the filing.

Avenatti was the lawyer who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had an affair with Mr Trump. Avenatti was convicted in California of trying to extort Nike and sentenced to 30 months in prison after being found guilty on 14 February 2020.

Since April 2020, and due to the risks of Covid-19, Avenatti has been serving his sentence in home confinement in Venice, California. Avenatti's temporary release was extended to 1 February. 

Avenatti is due to go on trial in another criminal case, on charges that he stole in the region of $300,000 from his client Stormy Daniels. He has pleaded not guilty.

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