Hundreds of thousands of people are hit with false domestic violence accusations every year. When the accused is a celebrity, in this case, one with only two degrees of separation from the U.S. president, things can get really complicated.
Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing the infamous Stormy Daniels, was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence on November 14, 2018. Like many individuals whose guilt is yet to be established, he was held in custody solely on account of someone else’s accusations.
Unlike what happens to a substantial portion of those people, in Avenatti’s case, the Los Angeles County district attorney has declined to pursue felony charges. If allowed to move forward, the domestic violence case against Avenatti will likely be treated as a misdemeanor and handled by a city attorney.
Avenatti’s is a very unique situation. After all, he has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. President, on behalf of a porn star. We will likely never know whether those two dots can be connected, but what we do know is what Avenatti can do to defend himself from the allegations.
It is difficult to know for certain whether Avenatti is guilty, but statistics do show that a high percentage of abuse complaints are false. When there is a custody dispute involved, research has shown that nearly 60 percent of domestic violence allegations cannot be substantiated in court.
False domestic violence accusations target thousands of people every day, and, love him or hate him, Avenatti may well be one of the victims of this rampant epidemic. When the defendant is a celebrity, that makes them an even more attractive target for anyone wanting to discredit them in the public eye.
In Avenatti’s case, the accuser is his former girlfriend, Mareli Miniutti, who claims he abused her both verbally and physically, and has gone as far as filing a restraining order against him.
Meanwhile, Avenatti has called her allegations “bogus” and declares that he has never been abusive to a woman in his life.
Here is an attorney, who was jailed because one person said he was abusive with no physical evidence or other corroborative facts. This is important, because domestic violence is so prevalent, especially by men against women, that our ‘post-OJ system’ errs on the side of ‘better safe than sorry’ with the result that many innocent people are arrested with the system expected to ‘sort it out later.’
Here is a man who has expressed a wish to run against Trump’s Republican Party in 2020, becoming a presidential candidate for the Democrats. If someone ever wanted to hurt Avenatti, this was the perfect time to do it.
Let us imagine for a moment that that is the case, and his ex-girlfriend is simply retaliating against Avenatti for something that she didn’t appreciate in their relationship. There are many things Avenatti could do to fight her accusations.
Effective Defense Strategies Against False Domestic Violence Accusations
- Identifying factual contradictions in the alleged victim’s claims
- Proving the accused was acting in self-defense or in defense of a third party
- Finding evidence that the injuries in question were accidental
- Establishing police or prosecutorial misconduct
- Verifying there has been illegal search and seizure
- Showing the culprit has been mistakenly identified
About 70 percent of the restraining orders issued every year in cases of alleged domestic violence are unnecessary or false. In some states, 80 percent of the orders issued were found to be based on false accusations.
These false domestic violence accusations lead to the loss of millions of taxpayer dollars every year. While domestic violence is a despicable scourge, our vulnerability to this type of accusations is extreme, and it is something the media doesn’t mention very often.
Domestic violence allegations can be very damaging for anyone’s career. This is especially so in the case of Avenatti, a lawyer representing a woman who is suing a known womanizer who happens to be president. What we must learn from this case is that the system is not fair, and people accused of this type of crimes seldom have a chance. Hopefully, the truth will emerge at some point, and Avenatti will have the justice he deserves, as every American citizen deserves, regardless of the public stature of either the accuser or the accused.
Joseph Tully is a certified specialist in criminal law by the California state bar and has been recognized as a Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney by Attorney and Practice Magazine. He is also one of an elite few having earned the designation of The Nation’s Top 1% by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. To connect with Joseph: [hidden email].