Convicted attorney Michael Avenatti, who was granted $1 million bail by a California judge last week, has been temporarily released from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus at the facility, CNN reported Saturday.
Avenatti’s attorneys said he was at risk for contracting the disease because he had pneumonia last year. He will be held in quarantine at the Manhattan facility for 14 days. If he tests negative, Avenatti will then begin house arrest at the Los Angeles area home of a friend.
The judge said Avenatti will have to return to custody in 90 days.
In an April 5 court filing dated, attorney Dean Steward said at least four inmates and five staff members had tested positive for the coronavirus at the Manhattan facility.
“Importantly, however, the MCC in New York City has no more coronavirus test kits,” the filing stated. “As such, the facility has no idea how many inmates or staff are infected.”
In February, Avenatti was convicted of trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike. He is awaiting trial in two other cases.
In one case, he is accused of embezzling $300,000 from his former client Stormy Daniels, the other involves alleged tax fraud and stealing several million dollars from other clients. Avenatti has pleaded not guilty to those charges and his trials have been set for later this year.
Avenatti, 49, gained fame during his representation of adult film star Daniels, who challenged a nondisclosure agreement with President Donald Trump after she claimed the two had an affair, but was paid to keep quiet about it.
If he gets a clean bill of health, Avenatti will be released to home confinement at his friend’s house in Los Angeles and will not be allowed to use the internet. A second friend posted a $1 million bond securing his release.