Attorney who tweeted about potential Nike basketball scandal charged with extortion

April FrancisMar 26, 2019

Avenatti is expected to answer to the charges later Monday.

Until recently, Avenatti represented adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, a central figure in the hush-money scandal that resulted in Manhattan federal prosecutors charging President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Less than an hour before his arrest, Avenatti said on Twitter that he would hold a press conference to "disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by Nike that we have uncovered".

Law enforcement wiretapped calls between Avenatti and lawyers for Nike as part of the investigation.

According to Fox News, Avenatti and his co-conspirator went to Nike, where he allegedly told him he will "go take ten billion dollars off your client's market cap ..."

The unnamed co-conspirator is the well-known defense lawyer and CNN contributor Mark Geragos, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.

The following day, Avenatti met with Nike's lawyers in person, where in a recorded video he could be heard demanding $22.5 million for a confidential settlement.

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The complaint said Avenatti threatened to hold a news 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.

More recently, Avenatti has involved himself in cases representing migrant parents who were separated from their children when illegally crossing the US border, and women who said they were sexually abused by R&B star R. Kelly.

The co-conspirator charged along with Michael Avenatti in a $20 million extortion plot against Nike has been revealed to be longtime CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos. He also allegedly used fake tax returns to get a $4.1 million loan from a MS bank to fund his law firm and coffee business.

Prosecutors in both offices planned press conferences Monday afternoon to detail the charges. "I believe we can not be the party of turning the other cheek", Avenatti told an audience at an event for his pre-presidential campaign tour (or whatever it was). It is unknown whether Geragos, who was not named in the criminal complaint, has been arrested or cooperating with investigators.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, released a statement about the matter. She suggested that she will release damning information about Avenatti in the near future.

In October 2018, Avenatti tweeted, "Donald Trump Jr. will be indicted before his birthday on 12-31-18".

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