Michael Avenatti charged with extortion

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Published on 25 Mar 2019, 19:19
Federal prosecutors in two states revealed criminal charges Monday against Michael Avenatti, the high-profile lawyer who battled President Donald Trump, accusing him of scheming to extort shoemaker Nike, embezzling money and defrauding a bank.

Avenatti was arrested Monday afternoon in New York outside the office of one of Nike's lawyers.

In the Nike case, federal prosecutors in New York charged Avenatti with four counts of extortion and conspiracy for allegedly threatening to reveal what he claimed was misconduct by its employees, according to court records filed there.

They charged that Avenatti sought $1.5 million for an unnamed client and between $15 million and $25 million for him and an associate to conduct an internal investigation of Nike, according to the documents. Prosecutors described the effort, which played out largely over the past week, as a "multi-million extortion scheme."

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles separately revealed Monday that they had charged Avenatti with embezzling a client's money to pay his own expenses and defrauding a bank by using a fake tax return to obtain loans, a scheme they said had been going on for considerably longer.

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