U.S. Attorney Michael Avenatti Arrested for Extorting $20 Million from Nike
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Infamous U.S. Attorney Michael Avenatti was arrested earlier, over alleged attempts to extort Nike Inc. with more than $20 million.
According to a report by NBC News, Avenatti was arrested from extorting money, as well as embezzling a client’s settlement money to settle expenses regarding his failing coffee business.
Prosecutor from New York City said that the extortion case unfolded in “less than a week.”
As for Avenatti, he told reporters that he expects to be “fully exonerated” from these alleged crimes.
He said, “For the entirety of my career I have fought against the powerful — powerful people and powerful corporations. I will never stop fighting that good fight.”
How It Unfolded
According to sources, the lawyer met with Nike representatives on March 19, and claimed that he is representing a youth basketball coach who had information that the sporting goods company, have made “illicit payments” to families of high school athletes.
Afterwards, he and an associate threatened Nike that they will hold a news conference, with the intention of ruining the company’s reputation.
Unfortunately for him, the FBI captured him making expletive threats to the company and said per court papers, “I’m not f—ing around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games. You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem. And it’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing. A few million dollars doesn’t move the needle for me.”
Indeed, he made good on his threat, and Tweeted, “Tmrw at 11 am ET, we will be holding a press conference to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered. This criminal conduct reaches the highest levels of Nike and involves some of the biggest names in college basketball,” according to The Hollywood Reported.
But 15 minutes later, Avenatti was arrested by federal agents.
Prominent Lawyer as Co-Conspirator
As per reports, Avenatti did not act alone, and his co-conspirator was identified as CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos – lawyer for NFL Player Colin Kaepernick and disgraced actor Jussie Smollett.
However, Geragos’ attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a statement that he “has not been charged with any criminal conduct whatsoever.”
As for Nike, the sporting goods company said they are cooperating with the authorities.