Edited by: TJVNews.com
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who became known for his representation of adult film actress Stormy Daniels and his battle with former President Donald Trump, alleges in a new filing with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) that he was mistreated while in federal custody in retaliation for his criticisms of Trump and former Attorney General William Barr, as was reported by CBSNews.com.
Avenatti, who was later convicted of trying to extort the Nike sportswear company, is seeking $94 million from the United States, or $1 million for each day he says he was held in solitary confinement or lockdown, according to a copy of the filing obtained by CBS News.
The New York Times has reported that Avenatti’s claims come just weeks before he faces trial in Manhattan in another criminal case, on charges that he stole about $300,000 from Stormy Daniels. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
CBS News reported that Avenatti has alleged that under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) that the federal government is liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and false arrest, among other acts, while he was held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan in 2020.
Speaking to the NYT on Thursday, one of Avenatti’s lawyers, Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma with ZMO Law said: “They treated him very differently than anybody else in prison. Once they had him in custody, they held him in a unit for violent criminals and terrorists.”
The claim, known as a Standard Form 95, is the first step toward a potential lawsuit against the government. If a settlement cannot be reached or the agency denies the claim within six months, Avenatti could then file a lawsuit under the FTCA against the U.S. in federal court, as was reported by CBS News.
Avenatti is alleging in part that prison officials limited his contact with other inmates, friends and family, subjected him to harsh conditions in the wing where he was housed, and allowed him access to one book — “The Art of the Deal,” co-written by Trump — as retaliation for being a vocal opponent of the former president, as was reported by CBSNews.com.
The NYT reported that Avenatti, 50, was arrested and jailed in January 2020 after prosecutors said he had violated the terms of his bail in a fraud case he faced in California. Avenatti said in his claim that he had initially been held in solitary confinement in the Santa Ana Jail in Orange County and had then been taken to Manhattan and detained at the now-closed Metropolitan Correctional Center, much of that time in its most secure wing, 10 South.
Speaking to CBS News, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons said i