Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen, was arrested Monday on charges of trying to extort $25 million from Nike, CNBC reports.
“Avenatti also is charged in a separate federal case out of Los Angeles, where he is accused of embezzling a client’s money ‘in order to pay his own expense and debts,’ and of ‘defrauding a bank in Mississippi,’ prosecutors said,” CNBC reports.
The report says Avenatti is charged with attempting to extort Nike “by threatening to drive the athletic apparel giant’s market capitalization down by $10 billion by announcing claims of misconduct by company employees.”
Daniels, who replaced Avenatti as her lawyer earlier this month after having a falling-out with him, is quoted in a statement released by her new lawyer, Clark Brewster, telling CNBC: “Knowing what I know now about Michael, I’m saddened but not shocked regarding his arrest.” She adds: “I made the decision weeks ago to terminate Michael’s services after discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly, and I will have my own announcement coming soon.”
CNBC reports: “The California resident Avenatti, 48, was busted in Midtown Manhattan at the law offices of Boies Schiller Flexner at 12:30 p.m. by FBI agents, about 15 minutes after he tweeted that he would be disclosing a big high school and college basketball scandal ‘perpetrated by’ Nike that he supposedly had uncovered.”