Remember Michael Avenatti? Well, he’s the lawyer who represented former adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had an affair with President Donald Trump. Daniels sued Trump for defamation. She lost and was ordered to pay the president’s $290k legal tab. Avenatti also was told by a judge to pay his neglected child support payments. He was also evicted from his law offices for not paying rent for months and slapped with a multi-million dollar judgment from one of his colleagues at his firm. Then, he was slapped with domestic abuse allegations. Prosecutors decided not to press charges. Avenatti also decided to represent Julie Swetnick, one of the women who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of being part of a gang rape ring in high school. The story was trash, uncorroborated, and seen as a gross overreach, one that possibly played a part in Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) voting for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. She was on the fence throughout the vetting process.
Avenatti was once a top figure in the anti-Trump crusade, even being someone who could possibly run for president. Well, being late on child support, accused of domestic violence, and not paying your office rent doesn’t provide the best foundation for a national run. “Basta!” was his war cry against the Trump White House. And now, we have new charges: he’s been accused of trying to extort $15-25 million from Nike. To make this even sweeter (and awkward) he tweeted this about an hour prior to his extortion charge:
Tmrw at 11 am ET, we will be holding a press conference to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered. This criminal conduct reaches the highest levels of Nike and involves some of the biggest names in college basketball.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 25, 2019
Tmrw at 11 am ET, we will be holding a press conference to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered. This criminal conduct reaches the highest levels of Nike and involves some of the biggest names in college basketball.
Michael Avenatti’s last two hours pic.twitter.com/mGXEd0PQcR— Barstool News Network (@BarstoolNewsN) March 25, 2019
And here we are folks (via WaPo):
Authorities charge Avenatti threatened to hold a press conference on the eve of the NCAA basketball tournament to reveal damaging allegations against the firm unless it paid his client $1.5 million and agreed to hire Avenatti and another lawyer for $15 to $25 million to conduct an “internal investigation” into the allegations.
The charging document said that Avenatti proposed another alternative to hiring him to conduct an investigation — “a total payment of $22.5 million from Nike to resolve any claims (the client) might have and additionally to buy Avenatti’s silence.”
Oh, and he was one of the folks who thought Donald Trump Jr. would be indicted. Yes, Trump Jr. is enjoying himself over this development, torching Avenatti with no mercy.
#MAGA - Michael Avenatti Getting Arrested!!!— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 25, 2019
UPDATE: Add wire and bank fraud to the list of charges.
UPDATE II: Ex-CNN legal analyst Mark Gregaros, who has represented Colin Kaepernick and Jussie Smollett, has been named a co-conspirator:
NEW: We report that alleged co-conspirator with @michaelavenatti in federally charged extortion scheme is celebrity attorney Mark Geragos @markgeragos Avenatti was recorded by lawyers at Boies Schiller @bsfllp with @rebeccadobrien— Michael Rothfeld (@mrothfeld) March 25, 2019
https://t.co/ZDJttHitNP via @WSJ
Avenatti’s co-conspirator also represented Colin Kaepernick LOL pic.twitter.com/5NGN2hwHCn— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) March 25, 2019
*CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos https://t.co/J7ToYC4DP2— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) March 25, 2019
Anyone else think it’s way too much of a coincidence that @MichaelAvenatti’s co-conspirator and @cnn legal analyst is Mark Geragos, just happens to also represent Jussie Smolette??? https://t.co/rb5LxRZscc— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 25, 2019