'I'm not f***ing around': Michael Avenatti was just charged with extortion by federal prosecutors
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan announced Monday that Michael Avenatti, the lawyer famous for bringing lawsuits against President Donald Trump and his administration, is being charged with extortion.
They said that he attempted to "extract more than $20 million in payments" from Nike by threatening to use his public platform to attack its reputation.
According to the criminal complaint, Avenatti met in March 2019 with attorney for Nike and threatened to release damaging information about the company if Nike didn't make millions in payment to himself and an unnamed co-conspirator. Avenatti also allegedly demanded that Nike pay $1.5 million to an individual he claimed to represent."I'll go take $10 billion dollars off your client's market cap...I'm not f***ing around," Avenatti said, according to the complaint.
Shortly after those charges were announced, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles announced charges of their own against Avenatti.
They charged the California lawyer with embezzling money from a client because he needed cash for his own bills. They also claim he defrauded a bank with a fake tax return.
Avenatti first came to public attention when he represented Stormy Daniels, a porn star who was paid hush money to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump — hush money which has since been found to be a criminal campaign finance violation that implicates the president himself. Avenatti and Daniels have since parted ways.