Avenatti being held in El Chapo's old NYC jail cell: Lawyer

Elise Czajkowski
January 21, 2020 - 2:58 pm
Michael Avenatti in New York

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Lawyers for Michael Avenatti say the disgraced attorney is being held in the prison cell that once held notorious drug kingpin El Chapo.

Avenatti was arrested on Jan. 14 in Los Angeles and accused of violating his bail conditions. On Friday, he was flown to New York and, his lawyers say, he's since been housed in the Special Housing Unit of the Manhattan Correctional Center, which is generally used to hold suspected terrorists.

In the letter, Avenatti's lawyer Scott Srebnick argues that his client is being held in solitary confinement and, as a result, he cannot contribute to his own defense. Avenatti has had limited interactions with his attorneys and has not been able to meaningfully review legal documents or access a computer. The letter also says that Avenatti was told he could only have one social call per month.

The letter also says that Avenatti's prison cell is uncomfortably cold – it "feels like it is in the mid-40s" – and that he has not been permitted to shave. Srebnick says that Avenatti is being held under special administrative measures, but that his attorneys do not know why.

Avenatti's lawyers want him moved into the general population

Avenatti skyrocketed to celebrity status alongside his former client, adult film star Stormy Daniels, who filed multiple lawsuits – unsuccessfully – against President Donald Trump. Then last spring, federal prosecutors in New York and California indicted Avenatti on charges of extortion, fraud and embezzlement, which included allegations that Avenatti stole millions of dollars from a paraplegic client. In May, New York federal prosecutors filed additional charges, this time alleging Avenatti stole $300,000 from Daniels.

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