- The Washington Times
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti won another two-month reprieve from having to go back behind bars during the pandemic, though a federal judge said Tuesday he should get himself vaccinated.

Judge James V. Selna has allowed Avenatti to remain free for about a year, despite ruling him a “danger to the community” and despite one fraud conviction and two trials still pending against him. The judge said Avenatti will be free at least through May 31.

Federal prosecutors had asked the judge not to grant another lengthy reprieve, saying Avenatti became eligible for the vaccine this week because of his health conditions, but has shown no inclination to rush to get the shot.

Judge Selna, in his order, said Avenatti should take the step — and rewrote the conditions of his home confinement to allow him to get the vaccine.

“Securing vaccination would be consistent with Avenatti’s past representations concerning his underlying health condition,” the judge wrote.

Avenatti is confined to the home of a friend in Venice, California, under strict rules about visitors and access to the internet.

Avenatti made a splash crusading against former President Donald Trump, including representing a porn star who claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, and a woman who made unsubstantiated allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

He also made a foray into politics, pondering a run for Democrats’ presidential nomination, and was a frequent guest on MSNBC and CNN.

That all came crashing down in 2019 when federal prosecutors unveiled sprawling indictments in New York and California accusing him of trying to extort Nike, the sports apparel company, and of bilking clients and hiding money.

He has been convicted of the charges stemming from the Nike case, and awaits trial in two cases involving allegations of bilking clients.

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