Federal prosecutors in Manhattan on Monday charged lawyer Michael Avenatti with attempting to extort more than $20 million from Nike.
Avenatti was arrested Monday morning in Manhattan, law enforcement officials tell CNN. He will appear in court later Monday.
Minutes after the news broke, the Justice Department announced charges against Avenatti in a separate federal case from California.
According to the criminal complaint, Avenatti met in March 2019 with an attorney for Nike and threatened to release damaging information about the company if Nike didn’t make millions in payment to himself and an unnamed co-conspirator. Avenatti also allegedly demanded that Nike pay $1.5 million to an individual he claimed to represent.
“I’ll go take $10 billion dollars off your client’s market cap … I’m not f***ing around,” Avenatti said, according to the complaint.
Until recently, Avenatti represented adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, a central figure in the hush-money scandal that resulted in Manhattan federal prosecutors charging President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Cohen pleaded guilty and is set to report to prison in May.