Michael Avenatti is facing serious federal charges in an attempted shakedown of sneaker giant Nike. Avenatti was arrested on Monday and charged with attempting to extort $20 million from Nike.
Avenatti was charged with wire and bank fraud, federal authorities say in a complaint filed in a New York federal court on Monday.
Manhattan Federal Prosecutors allege Avenatti tried to shakedown Nike by threatening to publicize alleged damaging information about Nike's involvement with high school and college basketball recruits - some of whom are currently playing in the NBA. Avenatti reportedly asked for $20 million to be paid to him and his client.
Before he was taken into custody, Avenatti tweeted: "[Tomorrow] 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 involved some of the biggest names in college basketball."
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.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 25, 2019
The celebrity lawyer is best known for representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump. She lost that lawsuit and was ordered to pay Trump's attorney's fees and legal costs (about $300,000).
Avenatti was recently in the headlines after he turned over a decades old videotape which he says shows R&B singer R. Kelly sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl. But Kelly's camp says the girl in the video is the same girl in a prior criminal case that ended in an acquittal.
Avenatti was previously arrested in November for felony domestic assault.
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