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Avenatti arrested, charged in federal court with attempted extortion of Nike for more than $20M

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Karma, kismet, fate … not always, but sometimes it’ll come back and bite you. In this case, it couldn’t be happening to a more deserving guy.

Ambulance chasing, shyster attorney Michael Avenatti has been taken into custody, officials at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York reported.

He will be charged today with allegedly trying to extort Nike for $15 million to $25 million. In addition he was charged with wire fraud and bank fraud in a separate case out of California. Reports are that he stands to face as much as 50 years in prison.

Prosecutors  say that he is alleged to have tried to extort the sports apparel company “by threatening to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met.”

Counts filed against him include conspiracy to transmit interstate communications with intent to extort, conspiracy to commit extortion, and more.

Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that Avenatti, over the course of just the last week, used illegal tactics and threats to enrich himself to the tune of millions of dollars. He claimed that if Nike did not meet his demands “the company might die.”

Avenatti became a notorious household name when he took on porn star Stormy Daniels as his client in her failed lawsuit for defamation against President Trump in 2018. A federal judge in Los Angeles threw the suit out in October 2018 and ordered Daniels to pay Trump’s legal fees, estimated to be $350,000.

Last week the same judge, S. James Otero, dismissed Daniels’ lawsuit that sought to void a hush-money agreement with Trump.

Earlier on Monday, Avenatti tweeted that he would be holding a press conference tomorrow to “disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered. This criminal conduct reaches the highest levels of Nike and involves some of the biggest names in college basketball.”

The legal complaint against him states that Avenatti and an unidentified co-conspirator met with Nike attorneys March 19 and “threatened to release damaging information” if Nike didn’t acquiesce to make multi-million dollar payments to them, in addition to a $1.5-million payment to a client Avenatti claimed to represent.

The Nike attorneys reported that he said if his demands were not met, he would “go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap … I’m not f***ing around.”

Avenatti was planning to follow through and hold a news conference the day before Nike’s quarterly earnings call to allege misconduct by Nike employees.

Simultaneously, at a separate news conference in California, federal officials announced other criminal charges against the lawyer for a different matter. In that case, Avenatti is accused of embezzling a client’s money to pay his own personal expenses and debts — as well as those of his coffee business and law firm.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna indicated Avenatti was charged with wire fraud and tax fraud stemming from a two-year IRS tax investigation after he allegedly obtained bank loans on false terms by using phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans.

“[Avenatti] is a corrupt lawyer who instead fights for his own selfish interest,” Hanna said. He added, the allegations against the notorious attorney “paint an ugly picture of lawlessness and greed.”

The Avenatti name became well-known all over the country since the Stormy Daniels controversy became national headline news. At one point, the opportunistic lawyer announced he was considering a presidential run to unseat Trump in 2020. Eventually, he seemed to realize that his fame did not translate to respect in the minds of voters.




Victor Rantala


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