The coronavirus crisis has a silver lining for celebrity fraudster Michael Avenatti — it’s giving him a reprieve from jail.
The disgraced lawyer won a temporary release from prison Friday when a federal judge in California ordered New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center to free him due to the risk of contracting COVID-19 in custody.
Avenatti must first undergo a two-week quarantine at a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility, District Court Judge James Selna ruled.
If he then tests negative for the illness, he can spend the next 90 days in Venice, Calif. at the home of Jay Manheimer, a longtime friend, the Daily Beast reported. Another friend, author Hubert Bromma, posted Avenatti’s $1 million bail.
Selna’s ruling was the result of an appeal filed last month by Avenatti’s attorney, who said his client was in danger after a cellmate came down with flu-like symptoms.
The lawyer, Scott Srebnick, has complained for weeks that the MCC could be a coronavirus hot zone.
Avenatti was convicted in February of defrauding Nike and is awaiting trial in Manhattan federal court for allegedly embezzling funds from former client Stormy Daniels.
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