Attorney Michael Avenatti gained a level of fame on the left and infamy on the right with his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in her failed lawsuit against President Donald Trump over a non-disclosure agreement about an alleged affair a dozen years ago.
His star began to fade in October 2018 when he helped raise absurd and unsubstantiated allegations of gang rape against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
But now, the lawyer is in utter disgrace as he was arrested and charged Monday with attempted extortion and making threats against Nike.
Incredibly, just one hour prior to the announcement on Monday of the federal felony charges against him, Avenatti had actually tweeted out a blatant and direct threat against the athletic apparel company, which will no doubt now be used as even more evidence against him.
Avenatti tweeted, “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.”
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
That tweet is timestamped 12:26. Avenatti was arrested about 12:30 at Nike’s attorneys’ offices, according to CNBC.
As it turns out, the only “criminal conduct” in this instance was apparently Avenatti’s effort to extort upwards of $25 million from the company in exchange for refraining from launching a public campaign designed to ruin the company financially.
The timing of Avenatti’s tweet as it related to the announced charges against him drew a response from The Western Journal’s Managing Editor George Upper, who tweeted, “I wonder if the FBI was waiting for this tweet to go out before they served the warrant for your arrest. Hope you know a good lawyer.”
I wonder if the FBI was waiting for this tweet to go out before they served the warrant for your arrest.
Hope you know a good lawyer. https://t.co/bJ92YcFluo
— The Upper Cut (@georgeupper) March 25, 2019
Avenatti’s attempt to extort Nike would appear to be in violation of U.S. Code Title 18, Section 875(d), which states: “Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee … or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
Indeed, the 11-page complaint filed against Avenatti in the Southern District of New York cited 875(d) as one of several statutes the disgraceful attorney was accused of violating, and Avenatti’s threatening tweet Monday morning only served to bolster the case against him.
According to the complaint, Avenatti and an unnamed co-conspirator threatened to purposely damage the reputation and stock value of Nike if the company refused his demands to not only pay one of his clients $1.5 million, but also tens of millions of dollars to himself and the co-conspirator.
Just one week prior, Avenatti had met with attorneys for Nike and threatened to release damaging information to the public if his demands were not met, or else he would “take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap.”
According to the complaint, Avenatti’s attempted extortion revolved around an initial threatened press conference to expose alleged misconduct by Nike employees on the eve of the NCAA basketball tournament and a quarterly earnings call by the corporation.
In order to refrain from doing so, Avenatti demanded during an in-person meeting the payment of $1.5 million to his client — an amateur basketball coach with alleged evidence Nike had paid top players — and that Nike hire him to conduct an “internal investigation” for a retainer fee of $15-25 million, or a simple settlement of $22.5 million.
Unfortunately for Avenatti, Nike tipped off federal authorities and a subsequent phone call, as well as another in-person meeting the following day, to discuss the proposed deal was recorded on both audio and video and monitored by federal agents.
The recordings captured numerous explicit threats issued by Avenatti against Nike, several of which were detailed in the complaint.
The charges are so far unproven, of course, and Avenatti deserves the presumption of innocence he would have denied now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump and others who crossed his path.
But Avenatti should have been banished from public life months, if not years ago.
His latest legal problems might be a just reward for the unmitigated misery he inflicted on President Trump, Justice Kavanaugh and all who support them over the past two years.
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