connectVideoMichael Avenatti attack Nike on social media after his arrest on federal charges of extortion
Michael Avenatti labeled the latest allegations against him as “absolutely absurd,” before he is “nervous” and “scared” about the potential behind bars.
Avenatti, the celebrity lawyer who rose to prominence last year, while representing porn star Stormy Daniels, and was briefly considered a potential 2020 Democratic candidate, was accused by the federal prosecutors in New York of “an old-fashioned shakedown” by trying to extort between $ 15 million and $ 25 million of sportswear giant Nike.
He is also facing separate federal wire fraud charges in Los Angeles, which may constitute his biggest legal threat.
Avenatti was grilled about the Nike allegations by CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan, who immediately asked if he tried to extort from the sports giant for “millions of dollars”.
AVENATTI, FACED WITH MULTIPLE FEDERAL CHARGES, SUGGESTS LOS ANGELES FRAUD HAS A CONNECTION TO ASSETS
Federal defender Sylvie Levine, Michael Avenatti, Federal Defender Amy Gallicchio, Assistant Attorney-Robert Boone, to Avenatti, the brief no later than Monday, March 25, 2019, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in New York City.
(Elizabeth Williams via AP)
“No, and a suggestion is absolutely absurd. Nike knew from the first moment I had contact with Nike, that I was to insist that the truth about what Nike had done to be passed on to the federal prosecutors and investigators,” he said on the network.
“The truth is, for years, Nike and their leaders are funneling the payments to amateur players, high school students and their caregivers and family members in an attempt to get them to go to colleges that were Nike colleges, and eventually, hopefully, to the NBA so they can sign a shoe deal with Nike.”
The prosecutors said Avenatti tried to extort Nike “by threatening to his ability to garner publicity to bring significant financial and reputation damage on the company if its demands were not met.”
“As alleged, Michael Avenatti approached Nike last week with a list of financial requirements in exchange for covering allegations of misconduct on behalf of the company, the” FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney Jr. said in a statement. “The high price tag of $1.5 million of the allowance for Avenatti to the customer and to the top of tens of millions of dollars for the legal services of his company services, Nike never requested. This is nothing more than a simple extortion”
MICHAEL AVENATTI ACCUSED OF TRYING TO EXTORT NIKE FOR UP TO $25M, FEDS SAY
The counts against Avenatti in the New York case, extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, conspiracy to transmit interstate communications with intent to extort, conspiracy to commit extortion.
Avenatti is viewed to 47 years in prison on the New York charges if convicted, and the 50 years in the lawsuit in California, which was the result of a much longer ongoing research with a longer paper trail. Avenatti has strenuously denied wrongdoing, and in a tweet early Tuesday morning, thanked his supporters for their “kind words,” adding, “It means a lot to me.”
CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP
Fox News has exclusively obtained text messages and e-mail conversations between Avenatti, 48, and the former client, Gregory Barela, who documented Barela’s efforts for a number of months in 2018 to search for and obtain the funds he was owed under an agreement which are the result of its intellectual property dispute with an out-of-state company.
Financial documents reviewed by Fox News show that the money had been wired to an account designated by Avenatti on Jan. 5, 2018, but that Avenatti apparently continued to dodge more and more frantic questions of the customer where the funds were.