Federal prosecutors told a judge this week that Michael Avenatti, the disgraced anti-Trump lawyer, should get the COVID vaccine so he can be put back in jail.
Avenatti, convicted last year on extortion and fraud charges and still awaiting trial on both coasts on other charges, has been on home detention in California a year, after a judge ruled he was a coronavirus risk case.
But prosecutors said Avenatti’s health conditions make him a priority case for vaccination as of this week, and he should take that step so he can be returned to the justice system.
“In short, the circumstances giving rise to defendant’s temporary release — and which justified his continued release — have changed. He is now eligible to receive any one of three vaccines that would nearly eliminate the health risks that he has relied upon in seeking release from custody,” prosecutors wrote in a filing Monday.
“What has not changed, and will not change, is that defendant “is a danger to the community,” they wrote.
Brett Sagel, one of the prosecutors, wrote an email to Avenatti’s lawyer, Dean Steward, last week letting him know Avenatti would be eligible as of this week.
The reply back was noncommittal: “Thank you for the email. We will let you know when and if we need any modifications of my client’s bail conditions relating to the vaccine.”
Avenatti, whose current release extension expires at the end of this month, has requested another two months.
His lawyers said that while the pandemic numbers are improving, they’re still much worse than they were when the judge first agreed to the coronavirus release.
But they did say Avenatti should be able to get vaccinated during the next two months.
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.