R Kelly Prosecutor Michael Avenatti Arrested On Alleged Extortion Charges

A spokesman for the USA attorney in Los Angeles said Avenatti was arrested Monday in NY.

Federal prosecutors in NY and California announced charges against Michael Avenatti on Monday in separate cases targeting the former personal attorney for adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Shortly before the charges came to light, Avenatti tweeted that he planned to hold another news conference regarding Nike on Tuesday morning.

NY prosecutors said Mr Avenatti and an unnamed co-conspirator met with Nike's attorneys on March 19 and said they had a client, a former amateur athletic coach, who had evidence that Nike employees had paid bribes to top high school players to convince them to play for Nike-sponsored teams.

In the Los Angeles case, Avenatti is accused of negotiating a $1.6 million settlement for a client in a civil case, but then giving the client "a bogus settlement agreement with a false payment date of March 10, 2018", according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

In the NY case, Avenatti was charged with conspiracy to transmit interstate communications with intent to extort, conspiracy to commit extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort and extortion.

Michael Avenatti speaks in December outside court in New York
Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested for extortion, fraud

The Justice Department's announcement said if Mr Avenatti was convicted on both charges, he could face "a statutory maximum sentence of 50 years in federal prison". Despite his involvement in the R. Kelly case, it appears as though Avenatti now has his own legal drama to worry about and it's pretty serious. According to prosecutors, Avenatti was working with an amateur basketball coach whose team had previously had a contract with company.Avenatti is accused of wire fraud and bank fraud.

Ms Daniels, who recently sacked Mr Avenatti as her attorney, said she was "saddened but not shocked" by the news.

Now Avenatti stands accused of trying to extort $25 million from Nike over a conference call, according to court documents filed on Monday by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY. Geragos did not respond to a request for comment. Federal prosecutors contend he threatened to release embarrassing information about Nike unless the athletic company paid him and a client at least $22.5 million. He also allegedly fraudulently obtained $4 million in loans by submitting false tax returns to a MS bank misrepresenting his income from 2011 to 2013.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, released a statement about the matter.

Attorney Mark Geragos speaks during a news conference on March 17, 2014, in Los Angeles, California.

Update: Just a reminder that CNN and MSNBC made Avenatti a household name by having him on the air constantly a year ago. But it wasn't only in that case that Avenatti sought to cause problems for the president.