Michael Avenatti arrested for attempting to extort Nike for $20 million

Michael Cohen Court Hearing in New York City

The bloom was off the rose with Michael Avenatti after a few months of good press, quite honestly. The signs were all there – a con artist believing his own hype, a bad man play-acting the idea of a woke feminist, the kind of guy who would blame every bad headline on a far-reaching conspiracy. For a while, I was sucked in, and I liked him. Then he started talking about running for president, remember that? And then a million other bad headlines happened, like when he seemingly encouraged a woman to perjure herself about Brett Kavanaugh, and when he seemed to be stealing money from Stormy Daniels’s legal defense fund. So messy. And now Avenatti has been indicted for extortion in federal court. Dude tried to extort NIKE.

Michael Avenatti has been arrested for allegedly trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike, the athletic apparel company. Federal prosecutors said Avenatti “devised a scheme to extort a company … by threatening to damage the company’s reputation if the company did not agree to make multi-million dollar payments to Avenatti” and his client, a former Amateur Athletic Union basketball coach, threatening to hold a press conference revealing “allegations of misconduct by employees of Nike,” the night before Nike’s quarterly earnings call last week and the start of the NCAA basketball championships.

Federal prosecutors also announced unrelated wire and bank fraud charges against Avenatti, for allegedly embezzling from a client to pay off his own debts. According to the criminal complaint in the Nike case, Avenatti and his unnamed client allegedly threatened the company’s lawyers over the phone last week: “I’ll go take $10 billion dollars off your client’s market cap. I’m not f–ing around,” Avenatti said. “And I’m not continuing to play games,” Avenatti added, according to the complaint. “You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem and it’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing.”

On Monday, Avenatti himself tweeted that he would be holding a press conference this week uncovering a “basketball scandal” involving Nike. The athletic wear company has been accused of paying college basketball recruits with the goal of directing them to specific schools on multiple occasions, possibly what Avenatti was hinting at.

[From Vox]

Much like Operation Varsity Blues, there’s an undercurrent to the story, an adjacent unspoken conversation we’re still not having, which is this: the NCAA is a multi-billion dollar enterprise built on slave labor. It would not surprise me at all if Nike is giving and receiving kickbacks. As soon as the NCAA allowed sportswear companies to come in and pay for the privilege of outfitting college athletes, of course those sportswear companies become complicit in the larger fundamental problem: these college athletes are slaves.

As for the charges against Avenatti… eh, they’re probably true. Dude had been playing with fire for so long, it was bound to happen. I haven’t checked, but I’m assuming the Deplorables are trying to gloat about this. Little do they know that most of us stopped caring about Avenatti a while ago. Also: Avenatti’s co-conspirator is apparently Mark Geragos, the famous “lawyer to the stars.” Geragos represents people like Chris Brown and Jussie Smollett. Sigh…

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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27 Responses to “Michael Avenatti arrested for attempting to extort Nike for $20 million”

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  1. Lightpurple says:

    ” I’m assuming the Deplorables are trying to gloat about this.”

    They’re far beyond gloating. A glance at Twitter would have one believing that Avenatti’s arrest is the greatest thing to ever happen. Bigger than the discoveries of the wheel, fire, and sliced bread combined. They’re absolutely insane over this.

    • Esmom says:

      What a world isn’t it? I can’t anymore. I got into a fight about the Mueller report with a MAGAt gloating about Trump’s “complete exoneration” and he kept saying he doesn’t want to see it. Willfull ignorance — that’s them in a nutshell.

  2. Tanguerita says:

    NOW he is finally qualified for the office.

  3. JanetSews says:

    This is hilarious, this guy is such a scumbag. Glad he got caught, and doing something so stupidly as well. Stormy’s got much better representation now too.

    • detritus says:

      When everyone was talking about how handsome and great he was I was thinking, man my bad guy radar is totally off. Feeling sad but validated now.

  4. Megan says:

    To quote Rick Wilson, everything Trump touches dies.

  5. anniefannie says:

    Eh, this guy was problematic right out of the gate. It was clear early on his zeal was less about defending/protecting his client and more about self promotion.

    • smcollins says:

      +1 Couldn’t agree more!

    • Becks1 says:

      Agreed. It just so happened for a while that his self-promotion and sleazy tactics got under Trump’s skin, and the whole Stormy Daniels payout becoming public was a big deal (although to be honest I cant remember the timeline of when we found out the specifics of that.) He was always sleazy though.

    • jessamine says:

      Yes! I don’t know if anyone here follows the NPR podcast All the President’s Lawyers (so good!) or it’s guest host Ken White on twitter (“popehat”) but they’ve been dragging Avenatti’s shady, showboating, unforced errors forever.

  6. Bryn says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that mark Geregos is involved, I always assume the people he represents are guilty, look at his past clients and it’s obvious. And now Avenatti is doing the same thing and they are actually working together…this is ridiculous.

    • Esmom says:

      It is. Even more ridiculous to me, though, is that the Trumps continue to walk free.

      • Christin says:

        This is what amazes me. The Manhattan office supposedly arrested him within an hour of the tweet yesterday, after only a few days after having the allegations brought to the feds’ attention.

        So he’s busted in a week, yet others never face charges?

    • holly hobby says:

      Didn’t Geragos represent Winona Ryder too? He’s everywhere and not in a good way.

  7. Muffy says:

    Honestly this sounds like the kind of conversation that happens all the time, except Nike wouldn’t budge and called the cops. How many times do we think Nike made the payoff to bury a story? And will we ever hear if they were making kickbacks?

  8. Darla says:

    One of the charges was bank fraud because he provided a phony tax return to get a loan. Trump inflated his own by 2 billion to get a loan from Deutsche, from what I read. The feds got Avenatti, that’s great, I have no problem with that at all. Avenatti is crooked. The feds won’t get trump. It’s interesting, isn’t it? For one family to be so crooked but never be touched? What do you call that?

    • boredblond says:

      Call it the repub party. I think trump’s bank/$ swindles have gone to the N.Y. DA, but who knows?

      Avenatti’s probably shopping for a lawyer that will use that old ‘he’s too pretty to go to prison’ defense.

  9. Veronica S. says:

    I’m fine with college athletes not getting paid if their tuition/scholarship is being covered by the school (that’s essentially how they get away with paying doctorate students so little), but otherwise, there does need to be some kickback because it’s ridiculous to make that much money off people without compensation. And it should be illegal for them to pull the scholarship funding if they get injured – I’ve known students who got screwed with a ton of medical bills AND college costs because the school yanked their funding after they had to leave the sport.

  10. eliseridge says:

    Stormy Daniels tweeted about his arrest the following: “Saddened but not shocked.”

  11. KidV says:

    Avenatti blocked me on Twitter when he announced he was going to run for president and I replied that the US can’t handle another narcissistic grifter in the White House. Apparently that wasn’t the reaction he was looking for.

    He could have had a good career because of Stormy Daniels, she made him famous. His ego messed all that up.

  12. zwella Ingrid says:

    Please explain how college athletes are slaves?

    • Veronica S. says:

      Fundamentally, they’re not. Students are not required to play sports unless their scholarships rely on it. Which, again, is a choice. Plenty of students take out loans or utilize academic-based scholarships. (The fact that sport scholarships often let lower performing students take the place of more academically talented students is a huge sticking point for a lot of people in arguments against the commodifcation of college sports.)

      The argument is that because colleges make such an incredible amount of money off their sport teams, their players should be compensated fiscally. I agree – to an extent. I think they should be offered tuition reimbursement or scholarship opportunities. I also don’t think they should lose their funding should they be injured and rendered unable to play for the rest of their time on campus.

      I do not, however, think they should be paid in addition to either of those because that’s patently unfair to academically inclined students – and particularly those with disabilities for whom athletics were never an option. It would also be setting up the system to inherently favor and prioritize sport funding over other aspects of education, more so than it already does.

      I agree that the NCAA should be discerning about what they consider a sponsorship, but in general, I don’t actually have a problem with their restrictions. My experience is that sport students are given A LOT of leeway that regular students are not, whether they realize it or not. They shouldn’t be treated like products, but neither should they be attending college to make money for a SPORT.

  13. meh says:

    Michael Avenatti can get these cookies. Dont @ me.