Federal prosecutors in New York and California have charged celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti with extortion and bank and wire fraud.
In the New York case, Avenatti was charged with attempting to extort more than $20 million in payments from Nike by threatening to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met.
Avenatti, 48, had previously represented adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen.
Avenatti appeared in court Monday evening and was released on $300,000 bond. He is barred from having any contact with an unidentified co-conspirator in the case. He also must report any financial transactions of more than $5,000.
His next court appearance is scheduled for April 1 in a federal court in Los Angeles.
“For the entirety of my career, I have fought against the powerful: powerful people and powerful corporations,” Avenatti told reporters after his release. “I will never stop fighting that good fight. I am highly confident that when all of the evidence is laid bare in connection with these cases, when it is all known, when due process occurs, that I will be fully exonerated and justice will be done.”
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