Los Angeles: US attorney Michael Avenatti, who shot to fame by representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her case against US President Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen, was arrested Monday after being accused of trying to extort money from Nike and embezzling a client’s money.
Details about the accusations – contained in separate cases filed in New York and Los Angeles – were to be disclosed at press conferences in both cities.
According to the complaint filed in New York and involving Nike, the celebrity lawyer ‘devised a scheme to extort a company by means of an interstate communication by threatening to damage the company’s reputation if the company did not agree to make multi-million-dollar payments to Avenatti and (co-conspirator), and further agree to pay an additional USD 1.5 million to a client of Avenatti’s’.
The complaint states that Avenatti, 48, and the unnamed co-conspirator met with attorneys for Nike, March 19 and threatened to disclose damaging information about the company unless it made the payments.
The following day, in a phone conversation with the attorneys, Avenatti stated that if his demands were not met he would ‘take 10 billion dollars off your client’s market cap’.
Less than an hour before his arrest in New York was announced, Avenatti tweeted that he would be holding a press conference, Tuesday 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,” he added. It was however, not clear what potential scandal he might have been referring to.