Michael Avenatti Indicted for Attempting to Extort Nike for More Than $20 Million

He allegedly threatened to release damaging information on the company.

G. Ronald Lopez/ZUMA

Federal prosecutors in New York have charged Michael Avenatti with attempting to extort more than $20 million from Nike by threatening to release damaging information about the company.

“On or about March 20, 2019, Avenatti and CC-1 spoke by telephone with attorneys for Nike, during which Avenatti stated, with respect to his demands for payment of millions of dollars, that if those demands were not met ‘I’ll go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap…I’m not fucking around,'” a court filing stated.

The announcement came shortly after a tweet from Avenatti on Monday that alleged to disclose a “major high school/college basketball scandal” committed by Nike.


In addition, federal prosecutors in California on Monday indicted Avenatti with separate charges of bank and wire fraud. “Attorney Michael Avenatti was arrested today pursuant to a criminal complaint alleging he embezzled a client’s money in order to pay his own expenses and debts—as well as those of his coffee business and law firm—and also defrauded a bank by using phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans,” the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California wrote in a statement.

Avenatti is best known for representing the adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump. A DOJ press conference is scheduled for 2:30 pm EST.

This is a breaking news post. We will update as more information becomes available.


We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.