You remember Michael Avenatti, right? The high-powered attorney turned into a household name overnight after representing porn star Stormy Daniels. Daniels accused President Trump of paying her $130,000 in hush money to prevent her from discussing an alleged sexual encounter in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in 2005.
But Avenatti has been accused of many shady crimes over the years – more recently – like extortion and embezzlement since the outspoken critic of Trump achieved national infamy.
And now Nike, Inc. and Michael Avenatti are currently going to war in court.
In March 2018, Michael Avenatti filed a lawsuit on behalf of adult film actress Stormy Daniels regarding the alleged affair with Donald Trump in Lake Tahoe, Nevada over a decade prior to becoming President of the United States.
Avenatti instantly became a notorious loudmouthed attorney who used his newfound fame in the suit in order pave the way to running for president against Trump in 2020.
But then the skeletons in Avenatti’s closet were exposed due to a long list of shady dealings including domestic violence accusations, extortion charges, failure to pay rent, and fraud and embezzlement charges. The accusations against him are long like a wizard’s scroll.
In November 2018, Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence against his girlfriend and bail was set at $50,000 but the Los Angeles city attorney’s office decided they would not pursue charges.
On March 25, 2019, Avenatti was arrested in New York City for attempting to extort Nike for $25 million for threatening to “expose” Nike for improperly making payment to families of high school basketball players.
Meanwhile, on the same day across the country in California, Nicola T. Hanna accused him in a 197-page filing of wire and bank fraud. The indictment also claimed Avenatti defrauded a Mississippi bank by submitting false tax returns to obtain $4 million in loans.
On April 10, 2019, Avenatti was charged by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana, California of embezzling funds that his client, Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside, had wired to him in January 2017 to pay an agreed-upon settlement to his ex-girlfriend. He allegedly held client funds and applying most of the settlement money of $1.75 million, along with his included $1 million fee, in order to invest $2.5 million in a share of a private jet.
Again, it’s just a scroll of illegality and misdeeds.
But this week Michael Avenatti and Nike, Inc. are going to war in court.
Lawyers for Nike asked a federal judge to bar Avenatti from subpoenaing any records as a part of his upcoming trial.
The reasoning from the apparel giant’s lawyer was, “It is Mr. Avenatti, not Nike, on trial.” They added, “Mr. Avenatti is wrong. Nike did not commit any crime. Nike has been fully cooperating with the Government’s investigation into amateur basketball.”
This is a criminal trial against Avenatti but somehow the disgraced lawyer presumably believes the alleged extortion was somehow justified. Avenatti’s defense team, Scott Srebnick, and Jose Quinon wrote the “defense is seeking to ‘put Nike and its employees on trial,” and “Notably Nike does not deny that it funneled payments to amateur players.”
Essentially Avenatti’s defense is “yes, he broke the law. But so did Nike and that’s why he attempted to extort them.”
That’s a bizarre defense and all signs point to Avenatti being guilty of the alleged extortion.