Lawyer Michael Avenatti was caught on camera name-dropping his two most famous adversaries — President Trump and singer R. Kelly — while trying to squeeze more than $20 million from Nike in an extortion scheme, according to court papers filed Monday.
Two Nike attorneys who were secretly working with the feds used hidden video gear to record Avenatti during a Thursday meeting at which he allegedly demanded a $12 million “retainer” fee to stay silent about claims the sneaker giant make illegal payments to high school athletes, court papers say.
Avenatti also allegedly said that he and an alleged co-conspirator — identified by the Wall Street Journal as celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos — would need as much as $25 million in billings to conduct a purported “internal investigation” for Nike.
Avenatti allegedly told the Nike lawyers that he would hold a news conference if his demands weren’t met, adding that “as soon as this becomes public, I am going to receive calls from all over the country from parents and coaches and friends and all kinds of people.”
Avenatti allegedly said that “90 percent of that is going to be bulls–t because it’s always bulls–t 90 percent of the time, always, whether it’s R. Kelly or Trump, the list goes on and on — but 10 percent of it is actually going to be true, and then what’s going to happen is this is going to snowball.”
Avenatti also predicted that the avalanche of information would lead to negative media coverage of Nike “and the company will die — not die, but they are going to incur cut after cut after cut, and that’s what’s going to happen as soon as this thing becomes public.”
Avenatti turned himself into a household name through his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels over her claims of an affair with Trump, and last year used that celebrity to flirt with the possibility of running for president as Democrat.
More recently, he’s represented several clients tied to the sex-abuse allegations case against Kelly, and last month he gave prosecutors in Chicago a “newly uncovered” videotape that he said shows the R&B singer having sex with an underage girl.
Kelly was later arrested on an indictment charging him with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged victims, three of whom were underage at the time.
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