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Michael Avenatti released from prison amid coronavirus fears

Michael Avenatti released from prison amid coronavirus fears
Attorney Michael Avenatti will be placed in quarantine for 14 days in a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 11 (UPI) -- A federal judge in New York has ordered the release of Michael Avenatti from prison due to the spread of coronavirus.

The judge ruled Friday that the former attorney of adult film star Stormy Daniels will be released from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City to a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility, where he will be in quarantine for 14 days.

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After that quarantine period, Avenatti will be allowed to travel to Los Angeles, where he will stay with a friend. Another friend posted a $1 million bond for his release.

The judge said once in Los Angeles, Avenatti will not be allowed to leave the house except for emergencies. He must wear a monitoring bracelet, he can't use the Internet and he can't make purchases of more than $500.

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Avenatti was convicted in February on charges he attempted to extort more than $20 million from Nike.

Prosecutors accused the former attorney of Stormy Daniels of threatening to release damaging information about the company if it didn't pay $1.5 million to a client who had the information. He also said Nike must retain him and another person for between $15 million and $25 million to conduct an internal investigation.

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Avenatti is scheduled to be sentenced in the Nike case on June 17, though it's unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect that date.

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U.S. copes with COVID-19 pandemic

Bass Pro Shops marketing manager David Smith (R) carries a box of donated face masks into Mercy Health in Chesterfield, Mo., on May 13. The company is donating 1 million FDA-approved ASTM Level 1 Procedure Face Masks to healthcare workers and first responders working on the front lines of the pandemic. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Avenatti faces two other trials, one in Manhattan in which Daniels accused him of stealing $300,000 from her. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Avenatti represented Daniels amid a scandal in which President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid her $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair she said she had with Trump after his marriage to Melania Trump. The scandal resulted in campaign finance convictions for Cohen, because he made the hush-money payment in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

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In another case, in Los Angeles, a federal grand jury indicted him on 36 counts of fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement and other financial crimes for allegedly stealing millions from five clients through a group of shell companies and bank accounts.

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