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.”

Trump Lawyer Investigation, New York, USA - 12 Dec 2018


THE FALLOUT CONTINUES: College removes Nike logo from uniforms in response to Kaepernick ad

Point Lookout, MO (CBS Local) — The endorsement deal between Nike and Colin Kaepernick prompted a flood of debate Tuesday. It was a trending topic on Twitter and other social networks, with some fans urging a boycott of the company’s clothes and sneakers — even burning and cutting out the signature swoosh logos on their gear.

“I stand for anybody that believes in change. I stand for anybody that believes in a positive attitude,” LeBron James said Tuesday night at a Nike fashion show and awards ceremony in New York. “I stand with Nike, every day, all day.”

Nike also provides all NFL teams with game day uniforms and sideline apparel, a partnership that was extended in March to run through 2028.

President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of protesting NFL players, tweeted Wednesday that Nike is getting “killed” over the endorsement deal.

“Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” Trump tweeted. “I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”

The College of the Ozarks, a private Christian school in Point Lookout, Missouri, that competes in sports at the NAIA level, said it will remove all uniforms purchased from Nike that contain the brand’s logo.

Last year, the college added a stipulation to competition contracts, saying it would walk away from any game where the opposing team takes a knee, sits or turns its back on the flag or anthem.

“If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them,” College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis said in a statement. “We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform.”

The Associated Press and CBS Local contributed to the content of this article.