Michael Avenatti spoke with CBS News on Tuesday, opening up for the first time since his arrest for charges of fraud and extortion. The infamous lawyer admitted during the interview that he was “scared” and “nervous” about the prospect of serving time in prison.
Avenatti spoke with CBS correspondent Jericka Duncan, and while he denied that he was guilty of the crimes he is accused of, he says that he is afraid of what could be in store for him.
“Of course I’m nervous,” Avenatti said. “I am nervous. I’m concerned. I’m scared. I feel terrible for my family. I feel bad for my friends.”
That said, the lawyer revealed that he has a strong support system behind him.
“Most people are sticking by me. They believe in me. They know what I’m all about,” he said. “So I’ve been very fortunate in that regard. But sure, I’m nervous. I’m scared. I’m all those things. And if I wasn’t, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense.”
On Monday, federal prosecutors announced that Avenatti has been charged with extortion for his alleged role in threatening the apparel giant Nike with the release of damaging information if the company didn’t pay him and his clients millions of dollars.
Also on Monday, Avenatti was separately charged in California with wire and bank fraud. Prosecutors there allege that he lied to a client and used false tax returns to obtain a loan. He was released on a $300,000 bond and will head back to court in April. As part of his release, he was forced to surrender his passport.
Avenatti has denied any wrongdoing and says that he is confident that the truth will come out in court. He took to Twitter today to continue his attacks against Nike, as The Inquisitr reported.
Contrary to Nike’s claims yesterday, they have NOT been cooperating with investigators for over a year. Unless you count lying in response to subpoenas and withholding documents as “cooperating.” They are trying to divert attention from their own crimes.https://t.co/chJEhbsxTH— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 26, 2019
Avenatti’s case doesn’t just have implications for the lawyer. Chicago prosecutors could face a serious setback in their case against R&B singer R. Kelly. The lawyer is a key witness in the case against the singer and now Avenatti’s credibility could be called into question. In fact, it was the tape that Avenatti turned over to police that was allegedly the turning point that enabled prosecutors to charge him.
Steve Greenberg, Kelly’s lawyer, says that Avenatti’s arrest could mean that it may have been altered before being handed over to law enforcement. Still, the prosecution appears to be prepared to continue their case against Kelly, with or without Avenatti’s support.