Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti brushed aside his indictment for extortion during a “CBS This Morning” interview that aired Wednesday by saying “people make threats all the time.”
“There’s legal experts that say that I was well within the line as an aggressive attorney. There’s many that say that, and the fact of the matter is this was not extortion. People make threats all the time … in connection with trying to settle a case,” Avenatti said.
Avenatti was indicted Monday in two jurisdictions. Federal prosecutors in New York accuse Avenatti of concocting a scheme to extort more than $20 million from corporate giant Nike.
He is also charged with bank and wire fraud in California in connection to embezzlement accusations.
“If what they’ve alleged constitutes extortion, you’re going to have to go around the country and arrest tens of thousands of lawyers in this country for extortion,” he said. “It was attempting to settle and resolve a dispute on behalf of a client and make sure that the right thing was done.”
Avenatti also reacted to the indictments Tuesday.
“I am nervous. I am concerned. I’m scared. I feel terrible for my family. I feel bad for my friends. Most people are sticking by me. They believe in me. They know what I am all about,” Avenatti told CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.
“So, I’ve been very fortunate in that regard. But sure, I am nervous. I’m scared. I’m all those things and if I wasn’t, it wouldn’t make a lot sense.”
Avenatti rose to fame for representing adult film star Stephanie Clifford during legal battles related to her claims she had a relationship with President Donald Trump.
Avenatti was a vocal critic of Trump and frequently appeared on cable news.
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