Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti has been arrested on charges related to an alleged $20 million extortion of the athletic apparel company Nike, federal authorities said Monday.
A press conference is scheduled to discuss the charges against Avenatti in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon. Avenatti is due to be presented in federal court on Monday.
Avenatti, 48, had represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen related to a non-disclosure agreement she had signed on the eve of the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump in exchange for a $130,000 payment.
The charges were revealed less than an hour after Avenatti announced a press conference to discuss purported claims against Nike. An FBI agent said in the complaint that the lawyer had threatened to hold a press conference on the eve of Nike’s quarterly earnings call to announced “allegations of misconduct by employees of Nike.”
A criminal complaint against Avenatti says he “devised a scheme to extort a company by means of an interstate communication by threatening to damage the company’s reputation if the company did not agree to make multi-million dollar payments to Avenatti and [co-conspirator], and further agree to pay an additional $1.5 million to a client of Avenatti’s.”
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