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)

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

A total of three cases were linked to the outbreak in unit 4E— one patient and two staff

Sheldon Pierre Louis’s winning mural design, “kʷu mr̓imstn, we are medicine.” (Facebook: Okanagan Nation Alliance)
Syilx artist selected as winner of Kelowna Gospel Mission’s mural project

Sheldon Pierre Louis was also awarded $10,000 for his winning submission, “kʷu mr̓imstn, we are medicine.”

The administrative headquarters for Central Okanagan Public Schools in Kelowna. (File photo)
Another 6 Central Okanagan Schools exposed to COVID-19

The school district has seen a rise in cases at several of its schools over the course of the month

Photo: pixabay.com
Morning Start: What does space smell like?

Your morning start for Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Patios, retail shops to expand outdoor spaces in West Kelowna (PHOTO: The City of West Kelowna).
West Kelowna allows expanded patios, retail spaces

West Kelowna allows businesses to expand outdoor service areas due to pandemic restrictions

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Shuswap businesses dependent on  tourism are bracing for further details of travel restrictions expected to be announced by Friday, April 23. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
B.C. travel restrictions create uncertainty among North Okanagan-Shuswap businesses

Sicamous mayor to ramp up campaign against licence plate hate

The site of a proposed water bottling facility referred to in a groundwater licence application is in the vicinity of this intersection. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Concerns raised over water licence application in Salmon Arm for bottling water

Neighbours want to know more, city councillor concerned about commercial use of public aquifers

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Most Read