Michael Avenatti Charged With Extortion and Wire Fraud

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Posted: Nov 13, 2019 8:10 PM
Michael Avenatti Charged With Extortion and Wire Fraud

Source: AP Photo/Amanda Lee Myers

On Wednesday, a grand jury charged disgraced pornstar lawyer Michael Avenatti with extortion and wire fraud. The revised indictment dropped a conspiracy charge against Avennati but added an additional count of wire fraud. 

According to the indictment, Avenatti threatened to hold a damaging press conference on the eve of Nike's quarterly earnings report and the start of the NCAA's men's college basketball tournament unless Nike agreed to pay Avenatti around $25 million in payments. Avenatti said he was representing a youth basketball coach who had evidence that Nike employees had concealed unauthorized payments to families of top high school basketball players. The U.S. Attorney's Office had recently opened a criminal investigation into a competitor of Nike's for similarly concealing payments to families of high school athletes. 

Avenatti represented porn star Stormy Daniels who claims to have had an affair with President Trump. Daniels hired Avenatti to represent her in her defamation suit against the president. Daniels lost that suit and was ordered to pay the president's attorney fees. Avenatti also represented bogus Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick in her gang-rape allegation against the Supreme Court justice during his confirmation hearing. 

This isn't the first time Avenatti has had legal troubles. As Matt Vespa has written, Avenatti was ordered by a judge to pay child support payments that he neglected to make. He also fell behind on rent payments, was evicted from his law offices and slapped with a multi-million dollar judgment from a former colleague. Last November, Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic abuse, but the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office declined to prosecute.