PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Days after his arrest on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge, high-profile Pinellas attorney John Trevena asserts that the video that originally led to his arrest actually proves he never should have been arrested at all.
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The 90-second long video begins with an angry Trevena carrying a plastic bag filled with items and a purse into the kitchen of his ex-wife, Meredith Trevena.
The defense attorney begins rummaging through the drawers and cabinets looking for other items he said Meredith stole from his home, while cursing at her.
“F---ing knife, yep” he said. “You’ve got all my s--t.”
Meredith responds by telling Trevena that she’s recording his actions on cell phone video.
“Thank God, I have videos of you doing all this,” she said. “So, when the police come, you can’t say I don’t have video of you kicking my computer, tearing all my s—t up.”
“Whatever,” Trevena said.
The video shows Meredith confront Trevena three times when she believes he has taken some of her belongings.
“That’s mine,” she said.
“Get the f—k away from me,” he replies.
The most intense confrontation happens near the door as Trevena’s about to leave the apartment. Meredith tells Trevena that she wants her I.D.’s back.
“You ain’t getting s—t,” he said.
“Oh God,” she said. “I call the police now.”
“Good,” he said. “With all the heroin that’s in here.”
Trevena: "no physical contact whatsoever"
Trevena said the video proves that Largo Police should have never arrested him on the battery charge.
“All the contacts, if you notice, were all initiated by my ex-wife,” he said. “There was no physical contact whatsoever. I said, ‘stay away from me. Keep away from me’ and she stepped back but there was no touching.”
Trevena said he was upset because he had just found out that Meredith stole a family heirloom rug, worth $50,000, and sold it for money to buy drugs.
The rug was in the back of Jeep that Trevena said he let Meredith borrow to move into the apartment after their divorce was finalized last week.
“She signed the divorce settlement agreement. My goal was to set her up in her new apartment,” he said. “I didn’t think she was capable of doing something that evil. The rug was given to me by my deceased sister. That’s pretty sick to take that. She knew that.”
Spectrum Bay News 9 tried contacting Meredith but were unable to reach her.
According to a Largo Police report, Meredith said Trevena kicked her in the groin area. Police said they also noticed fresh nail marks on her right wrist and swelling, along with redness on her left hand.
“You never see me kick her,” Trevena said. “Any marks on her hands and arms is from her heroin use.”
Trevena was also observed going up to the victim and shoving her back as she tried to retrieve items that he was attempting to take from her apartment, according to the arrest report.
“Never shoved her at any point. Nowhere on that video is that seen,” said Trevena. “No reasonable police officer, under those circumstances, would’ve conducted an arrest based on those facts in that video.”
Former investigator weighs in
We asked Orlando private investigator James Copenhaver, a retired 30-year major case investigator with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, to weigh-in on the case.
After watching the video, Copenhaver said he would’ve arrested Trevena for domestic battery, too.
“She was essentially just trying to get her property back and it turned into this shoving match where he, it appears to me on camera, he shoved her,” said Copenhaver. “There’s your battery.”
The former law enforcement expert said Trevena’s first mistake was entering his ex-wife’s apartment alone, without police officers present.
“I think anytime you go into anyone’s home and you start taking personal belongings, that’s a problem,” he said. “She needs her I.D., whether she’s on heroin or not, and she tries to retrieve her property by taking it back, that’s when he shoves her. I have a serious problem with that.”
Trevena said Meredith let him into her apartment to prove that she didn’t have his rug.
The defense attorney was released from the Pinellas Jail on Tuesday on his own recognizance. A judge ordered Trevena to stay away from Meredith until the case is wrapped up.
Trevena said his arrest has not affected his law firm.
“I just had very successful results yesterday and today in court,” he said. “So, my prominence has not been affected my ability to practice law, I’m at my peak.”
Trevena is one of the attorneys representing controversial Clearwater parking lot shooter Michael Drejka. That manslaughter trial is scheduled to go to trial in August.