Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker
Former attorney for Stormy Daniels, darling of the Democrat Party and fierce critic of President Trump, Michael Avenatti had a stunning fall from grace today. He was arrested today in New York City on a number of charges including embezzling from a client, defrauding a bank, and attempting to extort a publicly traded company which was Nike. The notoriously bold lawyer remained true to form as he threatened to release damaging information about Nike if they didn’t give him $20 million. He also sought another $1.5 million for a client to remain quiet with the aide of a co-conspirator. After Nike representatives refused during a meeting with him today, he announced on Twitter a press conference would be occurring tomorrow and was arrested 15 minutes later. The damaging information appeared to be some sort of a high school basketball scandal.
The client whose silence he was selling is a coach of an amateur athletic union men’s basketball program in California. The AAU program he coached was sponsored by Nike for $72,000 a year. As for the co-conspirator, that was celebrity attorney and CNN contributor Mark Geragos who’s known for representing Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Scott Peterson and most recently Jussie Smollett. He was fired from the network within hours.
The U.S. attorney in New York working on his case, Geoffrey S. Berman said “When lawyers use their law licenses as weapons, as a guise to extort payments for themselves, they are no longer acting as attorneys. They are acting as criminals.”
Then there’s the California cases where he used a client’s money to pay personal debt, that of his coffee businesses and his law firm. Then he used fake tax returns to get millions in in loans defrauding a Mississippi bank. The U.S. attorney, Nick Hanna, working on this in California said the allegations “paint an ugly picture of lawless conduct and greed” and not the attorney and advocate as he describes himself on his Twitter accoun. Instead he sounds more like “a corrupt lawyer who instead fights for his own selfish interests.”
Avenatti lived a lavish lifestyle and one that came at a high cost. To start, being Michael Avenatti was costing him $200,000. He had a race car venture and paid for luxury homes in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, California. His former firm was forced by a bankruptcy court to pay $10 million to a lawyer who claimed he misstated his profits. The Justice Department said he owed $440,000 still which he’s chalked up as being a smear campaign. He said he doesn’t personally owe any of the money.
Stormy Daniels commented on this on Twitter saying “saddened but not shocked.” She fired him a month ago after “discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly.” Her case against the President, which allowed Avenatti to rise to national prominence resulted in her having to pay the President’s legal fees to the tune of $293,000. But this shouldn’t have come as a surprise because during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, he was repeatedly told how he was taking advantage of Daniels getting an incredible amount of free press being on cable news daily while she had to work in a strip club to make money. It appeared to be an absolute imbalance of power. Though he claimed that she did that because she wanted to, which might have been correct, it shed some light on how he treated his other clients. It looks like the universe revealed that one. More updates will be given as they come in.