(UPDATED 5:50 PM with Avenatti publishing bond) Star attorney Michael Avenatti has been released on $300,000 bond, and states he anticipates to be “fully exonerated” of federal extortion and bank and wire scams charges.
The lawyer who took legal action against President Donald Trump on behalf of Stormy Daniels is lawyering up himself today. Avenatti was apprehended after federal district attorneys in New York charged him with attempting to obtain $20 million from Nike and feds in Los Angeles submitted wire and bank scams charges.
He is anticipated to make his first court appearance today in Manhattan. He is expected to face the charges in the California case at a later date.
Avenatti deals with 4 counts of extortion from the Southern District of New York for attempting to extract more than $20M in payments from Nike, by “threatening to usage his ability to amass publicity to cause significant monetary and reputational harm on the company if his needs were not satisfied.”
“Our system of justice requires and relies on lawyers and member of the bar to not just follow the law, but maintain its finest principles and perfects,” Geoffrey S. Berman. U.S. Lawyer for the Southern District of New York said at a Monday afternoon presser.
“When attorneys usage their law license as weapons to obtain payments for themselves, they are no longer acting as attorneys; they are acting as lawbreakers and they will be held responsible for their carry out,” Berman continued.
“A match and tie does not mask the reality that, at its core, this was an old-fashioned shakedown,” Berman insisted.
He pointedly mentioned that Avenatti’s conduct “had nothing to do with zealous advocacy for the client or any other kind of genuine legal work,” anticipating Avenatti’s legal defense. Rather, Avenatti utilized unlawful and extortionate threats to acquire millions for himself.”
According to Berman, the celebrity attorney pressured Nike to pay or risk having him hold one of his widely known, extensively telecasted press conferences which he declared would significantly drive down the stock cost of the company and its market worth.
In one recorded meeting, Avenatti said, if Nike did not fulfill his demand, the company may die or, if not, was “going to be inflicted with cut after cut after cut after cut.”
The drama played out last week over simply a couple of days. Avenatti very first fulfilled with business representatives on Tuesday, declaring to represent a client who coached an amateur high school basketball team sponsored by Nike. The group just recently lost that contract worth $72K a year, and a coach claimed to have information about capacity misconduct by a Nike employee, Berman declared.
Avenatti made clear he was approaching the company at a time desired to inflict maximum damage: on the eve of the NCAA tourny and the business’s quarterly earnings call.
Following that very first March 19 conference, Nike reps called Berman’s office. All subsequent interactions between Nike and Avenatti were recorded and managed by the FBI and Berman’s office.
Avenatti was detained in Manhattan on Monday, at the website of a prepared last meeting with Nike reps, William Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the New York’s FBI workplace said at the presser.
Earlier Monday, Avenatti tweeted that he would hold a news conference on Tuesday “to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by the Oregon-based shoe and clothing giant:
In L.A., he is charged with two counts of “[embezzling] a client’s money in order to pay his own expenditures and debts — as well as those of his coffee business and law firm — and likewise defrauded a bank by using phony tax returns to get millions of dollars in loans.” (Read the filing here.
“Avenatti worked out a settlement which called for $1.6 million in settlement loan to be paid on January 10, 2018, however then offered the client a phony settlement arrangement with a false payment date of March 10, 2018,” Nick Hanna, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, said in a statement. ‘The affidavit states that Avenatti misused his customer’s settlement loan and utilized it to pay expenses for his coffee service, Worldwide Baristas US LLC, which ran Tully’s Coffee shops in California and Washington state, as well as for his own expenditures. When the fake March 2018 due date passed and the client asked where the money was, Avenatti continued to conceal that the payment had already been received, court files said.”
Hanna added: “Avenatti likewise supposedly defrauded a bank in Mississippi by sending to the loan provider false tax returns in order to acquire 3 loans totaling $4.1 million for his law firm and coffee service in 2014.”
If founded guilty of both LA charges, Avenatti deals with a maximum of 50 years in federal jail.
With his steely glare and hardboiled behavior, Avenatti ended up being a fixture on cable news and TV talk shows last year as the lawyer representing adult movie star Daniels (née Stephanie Clifford) in her suit against Trump. It was case that exposed the $130,000 “hush money” payment to Daniels that ultimately led to Trump attorney/fixer pleading guilty to campaign-finance and other offenses and linking Trump in statement prior to Congress last month.
He longer represents Daniels, and his law company has filed for bankruptcy.
Said Ryan Korner, Unique Representative in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation: “Professionals, including lawyers, who produce elaborate plans that have no function other than to mislead others and defraud both their customers and federally insured financial institutions, run the really high threat of pr