Lawyer Michael Avenatti was arrested on Monday, charged with trying to extort Nike for millions over the threat of releasing damaging information about the company to the media. According to Bloomberg, a federal complaint against Avenatti was filed on Monday that alleged he threatened Nike, who did not meet his demands.
CNBC shared details of the criminal complaint on Monday, which included harsh language from Avenatti directed toward Nike’s legal council by phone.
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.”
The complaint says that last Wednesday, Avenatti and a cooperating witness spoke by phone with lawyers for Nike “during which Avenatti stated, with respect to his demands for payment of milions of dollars, that if those demands were not met ‘I’ll go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap … I’m not f—ing around.'”
Avenatti allegedly wanted $15 to $25 million at minimum for keeping his information quiet.
That information appears to be a potential high school basketball scandal. Avenatti tweeted early Monday that he would release damaging information about Nike and a high school basketball scandal at a press conference on Tuesday.
Hours later, the extortion charges against him were announced.
According to other reports, there are separate charges coming to Avenatti on the other side of the country.
Last year Avenatti represented adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Donald Trump, an attempt to void the non-disclosure agreement the two signed to avoid her talking about their alleged sexual encounters. He frequently tweeted about the president and the legal battle with Trump, eventually stating he wanted to run for president in 2020 before announcing in early December that he would not seek the office.