Michael Avenatti alleges in a new filing with the Federal Bureau of Prisons that he endured “brutal” prison conditions in “retaliation” for criticizing former President Trump and former Attorney General Bill Barr.
Why is this important: Avenatti, who rose to prominence as an attorney for adult film actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against former President Trump and later convicted in a Nike extortion case, is seeking $94 million damages, according to Law & Crime. Barr told The New York Times that Avenatti’s claims were “ridiculous.”
Driving the news: Avenatti alleges in the filing that Trump was “obsessed” with him and that in 2019 federal prosecutors “aggressively pursued” criminal cases against him in New York and California – where he still faces charges for allegedly embezzling money from clients, including Daniels.
- He claims to have suffered “bodily injury, pain and suffering, severe mental anguish, emotional distress, indignity and embarrassment, degradation,” among other issues from his treatment, according to the filing.
Enlarge: Avenatti says he spent approximately 94 days in solitary confinement or detention while at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan in 2020 and was also placed in a wing alongside terrorists, rather than in the general prison population, as requested.
- He claims that when he asked for reading material, he was given a book: “Trump: The Art of the Deal”.
The big picture: Avenatti was sentenced to 30 months in prison last July for attempting to extort more than $20 million from Nike, but was later released due to pandemic concerns and is currently housebound in California.
- He is appealing his sentence and conviction in the case, notes CBS News.
For memory : Trump and Barr are named “witnesses” in Avenatti’s case, a first step towards a possible lawsuit against the federal government.
- The Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice declined to comment on Avenatti’s claims. Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment.
Read the dossier, obtained by CBS News, via DocumentCloud:
Backtrack: The rise and fall of Michael Avenatti