Michael Avenatti Charged With Extorting Nike, Financial Fraud

Published on 25 Mar 2019, 21:49
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels in her legal battle with President Donald Trump, was charged Monday with extortion. Reuters reports Avenatti was arrested in New York Monday after being charged separately with embezzlement and fraud in California. Authorities say he is scheduled to make his initial court appearance later on Monday. Prosecutors said Avenatti and an unnamed partner met with Nike’s attorneys on March 19 and said they had a client who had evidence that Nike had bribed highly ranked high-school athletes to play for Nike-sponsored teams. According to the complaint, Avenatti told Nike he would go public unless the company paid his client $1.5 million and hired him to conduct an internal investigation for between $15 million and $25 million. Prosecutors also say Avenatti offered to accept a $22.5 million payment for his silence. New York Attorney Geoffrey Berman said, “A suit and tie does not mask the fact that, at its core, this was a old-fashioned shake-down." Nike said in a statement that it “will not be extorted." Federal prosecutors in California also charged Avenatti on Monday, accusing him of using a client’s $1.6 million settlement to pay for personal expenses, and with defrauding a Mississippi bank of $4.1 million by submitting false tax returns for 2011-2013.

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