Michael Avenatti Arrested
(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

Celebrity Lawyer Michael Avenatti Charged For Trying To Extort More Than $20 Million From Nike

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti has been charged for trying to extort more than $20 million from athletic apparel company Nike.

Avenatti was arrested on Monday after he threatened to tear down the mega company’s market capitalization by $10 million by releasing damaging information that would ruin Nike’s image. The attorney, who once represented adult film star, #StormyDaniels, has also been accused of embezzling a client’s money “in order to pay his own expenses and debts” of himself, his law firm and coffee company, and of “defrauding a bank in Mississippi,” prosecutors said.

According to a criminal complaint, Avenatti met with an attorney for Nike in March 2019. During the meeting, Avenatti reportedly threatened to release damaging information about the company if Nike didn’t pay him and his co-conspirator millions. He was accused of demanding Nike to pay $1.5 million to someone he claimed to represent, CNN reports. “I’ll go take 10 billion dollars off your client’s market cap…I’m not f***ing around,” Avenatti said, according to the complaint.  “And I’m not continuing to play games,” he added. “You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem and it’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing.”

Just before his arrest, Avenatti tweeted, “Tmrw at 11 am ET, we will be holding a press conference 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.” Avenatti, 48, was taken into custody in Midtown Manhattan at 12:30 p.m. by FBI agents; about 15 minutes later.

Avenatti is set for a court hearing on Monday for charges of conspiracy, extortion and transmitting interstate communications with intent to extort.

Michael Avenatti Arrested
Photo by Eduardo Munoz AlvarezGetty Images
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