Thursday, 18 Apr 2024

Outspoken lawyer Michael Avenatti charged with trying to extort Nike

Outspoken California lawyer Michael Avenatti, whose profile rose rapidly when he represented a porn star who unsuccessfully sued Donald Trump, has been charged by federal prosecutors in New York with attempting to extort millions of dollars out of Nike.

Avenatti allegedly threatened to release damaging information about the company, which did not meet his demands, and wield his ability to draw negative publicity to the company.

Michael Avenatti has become a vocal critic of Donald Trump after his profile rose prominently when he represented a porn star suing Trump.Credit:AP

Avenatti is alleged to have told Nike that he would cancel a press conference critical of the sports-apparel company only if it paid an unidentified client $US1.5 million ($2.1 million), and hired him and another California lawyer to conduct an internal investigation for $US15 million to $US25 million.

Avenatti on Monday, local time, posted a tweet saying he would be holding a press conference to disclose a "major high school/college basketball scandal" perpetrated by Nike.

Moments after he sent the tweet, it emerged that charges had been filed. Prosecutors in Los Angeles are scheduled to hold a press conference later on Monday. Nike didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Nike pared a decline that followed Avenatti's announcement of a planned press conference, and the stock was trading down 0.3 per cent at 1.16pm in New York.

The charges mark a steep downfall for a lawyer who rose to fame last year as the attorney for Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who claimed to have an affair with Donald Trump more than a decade ago. Daniels' sued Trump to get out of a non-disclosure agreement but was unsuccessful.

Avenatti was arrested in November on suspicion of domestic violence involving a former girlfriend but was later cleared of any charges.

He has been involved as a lawyer in several high-profile legal cases; he is representing one victim in the case against singer R. Kelly and he represented a woman who made sexual assault claims against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

He has been a vocal critic of Trump and briefly floated ambitions to run for president in 2020 before saying that his family did not want him to run.

On Monday, Avenatti was accused of wire fraud and bank fraud. He was arrested at a Manhattan office building, prosecutors said.

More to come

Bloomberg, Nine

Source: Read Full Article

Related Posts