Michael Avenatti assigned El Chapo’s old cell for his ‘notoriety,’ warden says

Firebrand attorney Michael Avenatti landed in the decrepit cell that once housed Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman because of his own “notoriety,” according to a letter written by a Metropolitan Correctional Center warden.

“Due to Mr. Avenatti’s high profile case, his notoriety, Mr. Avenatti’s placement is for his own safety,” writes MCC warden M. Licon-Vitale in response to revelations that the lawyer was being kept in the facility’s infamous 10-South wing and in the drug lord’s old cell.

Defense lawyer Scott Srebnick filed a motion late Monday asking that his client be removed to general population — claiming Avenatti was having “great difficulty functioning” in the freezing, moldy cell, where he was also barred from shaving.

Srebnick also said he’s been unable to have contact visits with his client, and was therefore unable to pass materials to review for his upcoming Nike extortion trial.

“Moving forward, Mr. Avenatti can keep his legal materials in his cell,” Licon-Vitale wrote, adding the Avenatti would have access to a computer upon request. “He will have contact legal visits and a daily social telephone [call]. Staff will give him the opportunity to choose a consistent daily time that works for him, his family, and his legal visits.”

Licon-Vitale also disputed Srebnick’s assertions that his client had been subject to intensive security measures known as SAMs, which typically apply only inmates facing terrorism offenses.

The 48-year-old was out on bail pending three separate federal cases until last week — when a judge remanded him following prosecutors’ claims he’d violated the terms of his supervised release.

Avenatti’s trial for allegedly trying to blackmail Nike out of more than $20 million was originally scheduled to begin Tuesday, but was postponed after his bail was revoked.

He’s due in Manhattan federal court Wednesday for a status conference.

Guzman occupied the cell — which the kingpin decried as torturous — until his transfer last year to Colorado’s ADX Florence to serve out his sentence of life plus 30 years for drug trafficking.

Original Post https://nypost.com/2020/01/21/michael-avenatti-assigned-el-chapos-old-cell-for-his-notoriety-warden-says/