connectVideoMichael Avenatti arrested on federal charges of extortion, fraud and wire fraud
The United States attorney for the Southern District of New York cost of lawyer Michael Avenatti, an attempt to extract more than $20 million in payments from Nike.
Michael Avenatti, porn star Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer who briefly considered a bid for president, is set to be charged Monday for allegedly trying to extort Nike for $15-$25 million, officials at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said.
Avenatti, which Fox News confirmed was taken into custody on Monday, allegedly tried to extort from the massive sportswear company “by threatening to his ability to garner publicity to bring significant financial and reputation damage to the company if his demands are not met,” prosecutors claimed.
The counts against him are conspiracy to transmit interstate communications with intent to extort, conspiracy to commit extortion and more. Avenatti is expected to answer to the charges later Monday.
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A press conference in New York is scheduled for later on Monday to discuss the charges against Avenatti. Meanwhile, a second press conference is located in California, where the federal government are set to announce additional criminal charges against the attorney for a separate matter. In that case, Avenatti would have embezzled money from a client to pay expenses for himself and his business ventures.
Earlier Monday, Avenatti tweeted he would be holding a press conference Tuesday to “give a big high school/college basketball scandal committed by @Nike that we have discovered. This criminal conduct reached the highest levels of Nike and includes some of the biggest names in college basketball.”
According to the complaint against him, Avenatti and an unknown co-conspirator a met with lawyers for Nike on 19 March and “threatened to release harmful information” as the company did not agree with the creation of multi-million dollar payments to them, as well as an additional $1.5 million payment to a customer Avenatti claimed to represent.
He has reportedly told the lawyers that if its demands are not met, he would ” go and take ten billion dollars out of your client’s market cap … I am not f***ing around.”
The complaint said Avenatti threatened to hold a press conference on the eve of Nike’s quarterly earnings call and the start of the NCAA tournament to announce allegations of misconduct by Nike employees.
The co-conspirator was identified as a lawyer licensed to practice in the state of California, and is “also known for the representation of celebrity and public figure clients.” Meanwhile, the alleged client is identified as a coach for an amateur athletic union men’s basketball program, based in California.
Avenatti was known as a lawyer of Daniels, the porn actress who claimed she had an affair with President Trump. In the last year, the duo became well-known names in their fight against the Trumpet, dominating the cable news shows for months, and the challenge of the president in the interviews.
Daniels gave a statement Monday that she was not “shocked” by the charges against Avenatti.
“Knowing what I know now about Michael Avenatti, I am saddened, but not shocked by the news reports that he has been criminally charged today,” Daniels said. “I made the decision more than a month ago to terminate Michael’s services after the discovery that he had dealt with me very unfairly, and there will be more announcements to come.”
Before Avenatti began to represent Daniels in February 2018, he was virtually unknown outside of the California legal community. But in a matter of months he was known as a no-holds-barred attorney with a media-style — and a penchant for tweeting — similar to Trump’s.
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Avenatti had played with a 2020 presidential run as a Democrat-he even visited Iowa at a given moment — but eventually ruled that out. He was also involved in another high profile case, represents dozens of parents and children were separated from them on the border of the V. S. as a result of the Trump administration’s immigration policy. More recently he was yet to represent women who said they were sexually abused by R&B star R. Kelly.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.