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

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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.

https://twitter.com/MichaelAvenatti/status/1110213957170749440

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.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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