BUSTED! ‘Creepy porn lawyer’ Michael Avenatti charged in $20 million extortion case

NEW YORK — Michael Avanetti, best known for representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, was arrested Monday and charged with extorting between $15 and $25 million from Nike, the sports apparel giant.

Avanetti, an outspoken critic of president Trump, had at one time vowed to make it his “life’s work” to see Trump indicted on charges of rigging the 2016 presidential election. The New York based attorney’s arrest comes just one day after a report released by special counsel Robert Mueller cleared the president of such allegations.

Prosecutors allege that Avenatti, who claimed to have “dirt” on the Nike corporation, had threatened “to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met.”

“As alleged, Michael Avenatti approached Nike last week with a list of financial demands in exchange for covering up allegations of misconduct on behalf of the company,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney Jr. said in a released statement. “The lofty price tag included a $1.5 million payoff for Avenatti’s client and upwards of tens of millions of dollars for the legal services of his firm – services Nike never requested. This is nothing more than a straightforward case of extortion.”

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Monday that Avenatti, 48, had engaged in “a shakedown” against the company.

“Our system of justice requires and relies on attorneys, members of the bar, to not simply follow the law, but uphold its finest principles and ideals,” Berman said in a statement. “But when lawyers use their law licenses as weapons, as a guise to extort payments for themselves, they are no longer acting as attorneys. They are acting as criminals, and they will be held responsible for their conduct.”

Co-named in the allegations against Avanetti Monday was Mark Geragos, an attorney who has represented such defendants as Michael Jackson, accused killer Scott Peterson and — more recently — “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, who was charged with falsely reporting a hate crime. Geragos also works as a contributor to CNN.

So far Avanetti has been charged with extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, conspiracy to transmit interstate communications with intent to extort, and conspiracy to commit extortion.

Avenatti has also been charged with wire fraud and bank fraud in a separate case in California.

Daniels, who claims she terminated Avanetti as her attorney a month ago, says she was not shocked to hear of his arrest.

“Knowing what I know now about Michael Avenatti, I am saddened but not shocked by news reports that he has been criminally charged today,” Daniels told reporters. “I made the decision more than a month ago to terminate Michael’s services after discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly and there will be more announcements to come.”

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TICK TOCK: Grassley files criminal referral against Michael Avenatti and woman who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct

WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Thursday announced he’s referred attorney Michael Avenatti and Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick for criminal investigation regarding a potential “conspiracy” to provide false statements to Congress and to obstruct justice.

Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in a failed defamation suit against President Donald Trump, also represented Swetnick, who accused newly appointed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of being part of “gang” and “train” rapes at high school parties she claims to have attended in the 1980s, claims that Kavanaugh has vehemently denied.

In a letter written to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday, Grassley questioned the timing of Swetnick and Avenatti’s allegations.

“When a well-meaning citizen comes forward with information relevant to the committee’s work, I take it seriously. It takes courage to come forward, especially with allegations of sexual misconduct or personal trauma. I’m grateful for those who find that courage,” Grassley wrote.

“But in the heat of partisan moments, some do try to knowingly mislead the committee. That’s unfair to my colleagues, the nominees, and others providing information who are seeking the truth,” Grassley went on. “It stifles our ability to work on legitimate lines of inquiry. It also wastes time and resources for destructive reasons.”

In the letter, Grassley called out contradictory statements made by both Avenatti and Swetnick in media interviews, specifically citing an NBC interview on Oct. 1, when Swetnick withdrew a claim that she saw Kavanaugh spiking punch at the parties with alcohol and/or drugs.

“I saw [Kavanaugh] giving red solo cups to quite a few girls,” Swetnick later admitted during the interview, adding that she didn’t “know what he did.”

Swetnick merely claimed she “saw him” by the punch—a comment that contradicted her sworn statement to the committee, Grassley pointed out.

An angry Avenatti was quick to fire back.

“This is clearly political,” he told Fox News. “And fortunately for us, Senator Grassley isn’t too smart — or I should say bright. This was a major mistake on his part. He just cracked open the door and I’m going to drive a Mack Truck through it.”

Avenatti then took to Twitter to call Grassley out, referencing what he referred to as Justice Kavanaugh’s ongoing “lies”.

“It is ironic that Senator Grassley now is interested in investigations,” Avenatti tweeted. “He didn’t care when it came to putting a man on the SCOTUS for life. We welcome the investigation as now we can finally get to the bottom of Judge Kavanaugh’s lies and conduct. Let the truth be known.”

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TRUMP STRIKES BACK: President blasts ‘horse face’ Stormy Daniels and ‘third rate’ lawyer after federal judge dismisses lawsuit

WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump on Tuesday took to Twitter to lash out at former porn star Stormy Daniels, who had sued the president for defamation of character, only to have her suit dismissed by a federal judge based on “lack of merit”.

“Federal Judge throws out Stormy Daniel’s lawsuit versus Trump. Trump is entitled to full legal fees @FoxNews,” the president tweeted. “Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!”

Daniels brought the suit in federal court after Trump pointed out that a sketch she released of a man who allegedly threatened her to stay silent about her reported one-time fling with Trump looked a lot like her ex-husband.

In addition to dismissing her suit against the president, the judge hearing the case also ordered Daniels to pay Trump’s attorneys fees.

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KAVANAUGH RESPONDS: Trump’s Supreme Court nominee slams new allegations against him as ‘ridiculous’ and from the ‘Twilight Zone’ as third accuser comes forward

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh hit back on Wednesday, calling new allegations set forth against him by a third alleged victim “ridiculous”.

Julie Swetnick, a former student at a Maryland high school, alleged through a statement released by her attorney, Michael Avenatti, that Kavanaugh was present during a party at which she was gang-raped by a group of boys.

“I witnessed Brett Kavanaugh consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women during the early 1980s,” Swetnick says in her statement, which she signed under penalty of perjury.

In the affidavit, Avenatti further claims that Kavanaugh and several of his friends would “spike” the drinks of girls at house parties with grain alcohol and/or drugs to “cause girls to lose inhibitions and their ability to say ‘No.’”

Swetnick said Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge intentionally took part in incapacitating the girls so they “could then be ‘gang-raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys.” She said “I became the victim” of one such rape “where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present.”

“This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone,” Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House. “I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”

He told Fox News earlier this week that “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”

In a letter to Judiciary Committee leaders made public after a second accuser came forth with claims of sexual misconduct, Kavanaugh vowed not to withdraw his nomination.

“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Trump took to Twitter to put Swetnick’s attorney, Michael Avenatti on blast.

“Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” the president tweeted. “He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships – a total low-life!”

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BREAKING: US Treasury Department opens investigation into Stormy Daniels lawyer over bank records leak

Washington, D.C. (The Hill) — The Treasury Department’s inspector general is investigating how Stormy Daniels’s lawyer Michael Avenatti obtained confidential banking records concerning a company controlled by President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The inspector general’s counsel, Rich Delmar, said that the office is looking into allegations that Suspicious Activity Reports filed about Cohen’s banking transactions were “improperly disseminated,” according to the Post.

Avenatti on Tuesday went public with detailed claims about Cohen’s banking history, including allegations that he received $500,000 from a company controlled by a Russian oligarch in the months following the 2016 presidential election.

The payment was, according to Avenatti, deposited in an account for a company that was also used to pay Daniels $130,000 as part of her non-disclosure agreement weeks before the 2016 vote.

Avenatti also revealed that AT&T, the Swiss drug company Novartis, and aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries — all of which had business considerations with the federal government — had made payments to Cohen. The companies later confirmed the payments, which are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Avenatti refused to reveal his source for this information and said investigators should reveal the Suspicious Activity Reports filed on Cohen’s account.

Such reports are filed if an unusual transaction of over $10,000 is made, and experts told the Post that Avenatti’s information could have come from a report filed by Cohen’s bank.

Banks often file such reports to detect for money laundering or other illegal behavior.

Cohen’s bank, First Republic, declined the Post’s request for comment.

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TRUMP’S STORM: President fires back with legal action amid Stormy Daniels’ claim she was threatened over alleged affair

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Monday responded to allegations by adult film star Stormy Daniels that she was threatened to keep quiet over an alleged affair between she and Trump that took place more than a decade ago, prior to Trump’s presidency.

Brent Blakely, an attorney representing Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, sent Daniels a cease and desist letter Sunday evening following an interview the former porn star did with “60 Minutes” regarding the pair’s alleged affair.

In it, Blakely demanded that Daniels apologize for insinuating that Cohen was behind a threat Daniels says she received by a stranger in 2011, ordering her to stay quiet about her supposed tryst with the billionaire business mogul.

“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,'” Daniels told Anderson Cooper during the broadcast. “And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.'”

Although she did not call Cohen out by name, Daniels insinuated that Trump’s personal attorney ordered the veiled threat in an effort to protect his client. In the letter, Blakely further ordered Daniels to refrain from making “false and defamatory statements” about Cohen in the future.

In an exchange between Daniels and Cooper during the “60 Minutes” interview, Daniels’ contended that the physical relationship she had with Trump was “completely consensual” and made it clear that she was “not a victim”.

Anderson Cooper: “You were 27, he was 60. Were you physically attracted to him?”

Stormy Daniels: “No.”

Anderson Cooper: “Not at all?”

Stormy Daniels: “No.”

Anderson Cooper: “Did you want to have sex with him?”

Stormy Daniels: “No. But I didn’t– I didn’t say no. I’m not a victim, I’m not–”

Anderson Cooper: “It was entirely consensual.”

Stormy Daniels: “Oh, yes, yes.”

In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, Daniels said she had an “intimate” relationship with Trump in 2006 and 2007 but had signed a confidentiality agreement regarding the affair, which obligated her to keep quiet. Daniels signed the deal, which had been orchestrated by Cohen prior to the 2016 election, in exchange for $130,000.

Daniels now contends, however, that the agreement is void because Trump never signed it. Cohen has since threatened to fine Daniels $20 million in damages for violating the terms of the contract.

Meanwhile, Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti shot back last week against claims that his client was fabricating the story courtesy a cryptic tweet.

“If ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ how many words is this worth?????” Avenatti wrote alongside a photo of an unmarked computer disc.

While Avenatti refused to disclose the disc’s contents, he told CNN later in the day that the photo was a heads up to Trump’s attorneys.

“It’s a warning shot to Michael Cohen and anyone else associated with President Trump that they better be very, very careful,” Avenatti said.

President Trump, while admitting that he has met Daniels on at least one occasion, has not formally addressed her allegations.

Calls to the White House and to Cohen’s representatives for statement were each met with “no comment”.

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