Michael Avenatti arrested on federal charges of extortion, bank fraud and wire fraud
The United States attorney for the Southern District of New York charges attorney Michael Avenatti with attempting to extract more than $20 million in payments from Nike.
Michael Avenatti, porn star Stormy Daniels' former lawyer who briefly considered a bid for president, is set to be charged Monday for allegedly trying to extort Nike for $15-$25 million, officials at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said.
Avenatti, who Fox News confirmed was taken into custody Monday, allegedly tried to extort the massive 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," prosecutors alleged.
The counts against him include conspiracy to transmit interstate communications with intent to extort, conspiracy to commit extortion and more.
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A press conference in New York is scheduled for later Monday to discuss the charges against Avenatti. Meanwhile, a second press conference is set in California, where federal authorities are set to announce additional criminal charges against the lawyer for a separate matter. In that case, Avenatti is alleged to have embezzled money from a client to pay expenses for himself and his business ventures.
Earlier Monday, Avenatti tweeted 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."
Avenatti became famous as the lawyer for Daniels, the porn actress who alleged she had an affair with President Trump. In the last year, the duo became household names in their fight against Trump, dominating cable news shows for months and taunting the president in interviews.
Before Avenatti began representing Daniels in February 2018, he was virtually unknown outside of the California legal community. But in a matter of months, he had become known as a no-holds-barred lawyer with a media style — and a penchant for tweeting — similar to Trump's.
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Avenatti had toyed with a 2020 presidential run as a Democrat — he even visited Iowa at one point — but ultimately ruled that out. He also was involved in another high profile case, representing dozens of parents whose children were separated from them at the U.S. border as a result of the Trump administration's immigration policies. More recently, he's been representing women who said they were sexually abused by R&B star R. Kelly.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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