Attorney Michael Avenatti, made famous by his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in her case involving President Donald Trump, was arrested on Monday on extortion charges, according to CNBC.
Avenatti is accused of attempting to extort up to $25 million from Nike by threatening the company with negative publicity if it failed to meet his demands.
FBI agents reportedly picked up Avenatti Midtown Manhattan just 15 minutes after the attorney announced a press conference via tweet where he would “disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by” Nike.
According to the criminal complaint filed in New York, Avenatti “devised a scheme to extort a company by means of an interstate communication by threatening to damage the company’s reputation if the company did not agree to make multi-million dollar payments to Avenatti and [co-conspirator], and further agree to pay an additional $1.5 million to a client of Avenatti’s.”
The complaint also says that Avenatti and a cooperating witness had a phone call with Nike attorneys, “during which Avenatti stated, with respect to his demands for payment of millions of dollars, that if those demands were not met ‘I’ll go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap ... I’m not f---ing around.’ ”
The lawyer also faces separate charges in a federal case out of Los Angeles that involves his alleged embezzlement of a client’s money.
U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles Nick Hanna said during a press conference that Avenatti “is facing serious criminal charges alleging he misappropriated client trust funds for his personal use and he defrauded a bank by submitting phony tax returns in order to obtain millions of dollars in loans.”