Federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Los Angeles indicted attorney and celebrity Trump foe Michael Avenatti early Monday afternoon for a range of financial crimes.
Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) say Avenatti formulated a scheme “to extract more than $20 million in payments from a publicly traded company by threatening to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met.”
The company in question is Nike, the sportswear and apparel giant. The company’s shares plummeted after Avenatti cryptically announced on Twitter Monday that he would detail “a major high school/college basketball scandal” that Nike perpetrated at a Tuesday press conference.
There are four counts to the SDNY indictment, including extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, and two counts relating to his communications about the alleged scheme.
A second set of charges followed in Los Angeles, where authorities accused Avenatti of embezzling client funds to cover his own expenses and debts.
A Daily Caller News Foundation investigation revealed that Avenatti’s professional past was beset with bankruptcies and mounting back taxes as well as unpaid legal judgments for sex discrimination. Avenatti threatened to sue TheDCNF after that reporting appeared.
Avenatti commanded national attention while representing Stephanie Clifford — known popularly by the industry name “Stormy Daniels” — in her bid to defeat a non-disclosure agreement pertaining to her alleged relationship with President Donald Trump. He was briefly touted as a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Clifford and Avenatti have since parted ways.
A press conference will follow Monday afternoon detailing the indictment at greater length.
This is breaking news. This post will be updated as more information becomes available.
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