Michael Avenatti, the embattled attorney best known for representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, recently had some fighting words for Nike during an interview with one of TMZ’s reporters on the streets of West Hollywood. As Reuters previously reported, Avenatti has been charged with the attempted extortion of the athletic footwear giant. He was arrested on Monday, March 25, in Manhattan.
But in his chat with TMZ, Avenatti proclaimed that Nike should be worried about being prosecuted for their alleged corruption.
“I’m looking forward to the executives of Nike being led away in handcuffs,” he said. “And I’m looking forward to the indictment of Nike.”
Avenatti is currently accusing Nike of paying families of high school basketball players to encourage them to send their kids to colleges sponsored by the company. On Wednesday, he took to his Twitter account to share documents that he claims are proof that Nike did this to recruit DeAndre Ayton, who is currently a rookie at the Phoenix Suns, Yahoo News reports. Avenatti accused Nike of paying Ayton’s family $10,000 in cash so that they could avoid discovery by the authorities.
Nike has claimed that Avenatti threatened to make these allegations public if they did not pay him and his alleged co-conspirator Mark Geragos millions of dollars. Avenatti was arrested less than an hour after tweeting about an upcoming press conference where he promised to expose the company.
During a recent sit-down interview with CBS News, Avenatti maintained that the case against him was “absurd” and insisted that Nike always knew that he planned on going public with his claims.
“Nike knew, from the very first moment that I had any contact with Nike, that I was insisting that the truth about what Nike had done be disclosed to federal prosecutors and investigators,” he said.
Despite his declarations that he did nothing wrong, Avenatti said that he is nervous about the prospect of going to jail.
“Of course I’m nervous,” he said. “I am nervous. I’m concerned. I’m scared. I feel terrible for my family. I feel bad for my friends.”
But Avenatti also said he has a network of supporters who are still on his side.
As The Hill reports, the attorney, who has earned a reputation for being a firebrand, was also separately charged with fraud and bank and wire fraud by prosecutors in California. If convicted on the charges in New York, he could face 47 years in jail while the charges in California could get him 50 years, Fox News reports.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 28, 2019