FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2018 file photo, Michael Avenatti, lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, speaks outside court in New York. U.S. prosecutors announced Monday, March 25, 2019 they have charged Avenatti with extortion and bank and wire fraud. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles said Avenatti was arrested Monday in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

Stormy Daniels’ ex-lawyer Avenatti charged with trying to extort millions from Nike

Avenatti, 48, was charged with extortion and bank and wire fraud in separate cases in New York and California

Michael Avenatti, the attorney best known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump, was arrested Monday on charges that he tried to extort millions of dollars from Nike and embezzled a client’s money to pay his own expenses.

Avenatti, 48, was charged with extortion and bank and wire fraud in separate cases in New York and California. He was arrested in New York.

The allegations “paint an ugly picture of lawless conduct and greed,” said Nick Hanna, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles. Avenatti describes himself on Twitter as an attorney and advocate, but the accusations describe “a corrupt lawyer who instead fights for his own selfish interests.”

In New York, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Avenatti engaged in “a shakedown.”

“When lawyers use their law licenses as weapons, as a guise to extort payments for themselves, they are no longer acting as attorneys. They are acting as criminals,” Berman said.

The New York case accuses Avenatti of threatening to use his ability to get publicity to harm Nike. In the California case, he allegedly misused a client’s money to pay his debts and those of his coffee business and law firm. Federal prosecutors said he also defrauded a bank by using phoney tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans.

Avenatti allegedly threatened to hold a news conference last week on the eve of Nike’s quarterly earnings call and the start of the NCAA tournament to announce allegations of misconduct by Nike employees. The attorney and a co-conspirator demanded to be paid $15 to $25 million and an additional $1.5 million for an Avenatti client to remain silent, the complaint said.

READ MORE: Cohen expected to claim lying, racism and cheating by Trump

READ MORE: R. Kelly insiders may have helped R&B star with sexual abuse

Shortly before the charges came to light, Avenatti tweeted that he planned to hold another news conference regarding Nike on Tuesday morning. Less than 45 minutes later, prosecutors announced the extortion case.

The co-conspirator, who was not identified, is also an attorney licensed to practice in California who represents celebrities and public figures, court papers said. The Avenatti client is a coach of an amateur athletic union men’s basketball program in California, according to the papers.

The AAU program coached by the client was sponsored by Nike for $72,000 annually, the complaint said.

An email requesting comment was sent to Avenatti’s office, and phone and text messages were sent to his phone by The Associated Press.

Avenatti rose to national prominence by representing Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in a lawsuit to break a confidentiality agreement to speak about her alleged affair with Trump. He has also made headlines in recent weeks as the attorney representing two women who have accused R&B star R. Kelly of sexual abuse.

Daniels said she was “saddened but not shocked” to learn of Avenatti’s arrest.

Brian Melley And Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fire at Canyon RV Resort

Small fire contained to storage shed and immediate vicinity

Man caught driving drunk with three young children in car

Multiple calls to RCMP for driver swerving back and forth on highway through Kootenay National Park

Jointly-hosted tea at museum

Strawberry Social 2 p.m. June 15th at museum grounds

The pen is mightier than the board

Local group of kids plans to put out regular newsletter as fundraising initiative

Celebrate Pride in the Park at 2nd annual event

Weekend of festivities June 14-15th

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read