Michael Avenatti Charged with Extortion After Allegedly Threatening Nike for Millions

Michael Avenatti (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Attorney Michael Avenatti, one of President Donald Trump’s most determined antagonists and the former lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, has reportedly been charged by federal prosecutors with extortion.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York reportedly believe that Avenatti threatened the Nike footwear company, saying he could inflict harm on the company’s reputation unless he was paid $20 million.

Avenatti has repeatedly promised that Trump would not complete his first term in office. He once toyed with running for president against Trump himself, saying he would “kick his ass.”

He was arrested last year in Los Angeles on allegations of domestic violence; charges were later dropped and he was released.

The SDNY is the same jurisdiction that convicted former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, who handled a payment to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Cohen has testified in court and before Congress that Trump directed him to violate federal campaign finance laws, but there is no clear indication that the payment was solely for campaign purposes.

It is also not illegal for candidates to spend their own money on campaigns, though such payments have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Avenatti and Daniels have since parted ways.


Avenatti had been set to announce claims of misconduct by Nike on Tuesday:

More details continue to emerge:

Avenatti was reportedly arrested in New York, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Stormy Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — also weighed in:

Update (2:13 p.m. EDT): The charges from Los Angeles have been announced.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

This article has been updated.


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