Michael Avenatti Faces New Fraud Charge in Nike Extortion Case

Samantha McDonald

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Update

In an email to FN, Michael Avenatti wrote, “As I predicted, the government’s case is falling apart. I should have never been charged as I did nothing wrong.”

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What We Reported (Nov. 14, 9:43 a.m. ET)

Michael Avenatti’s legal troubles with Nike Inc. are back in the spotlight.

According to a new indictment filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court, the embattled attorney no longer faces charges for conspiracy to extort millions of dollars from the sportswear giant. However, court documents unveiled a superseding indictment that included an honest services wire fraud charge, accusing Avenatti of lying to one of his clients as part of an alleged attempt to extort Nike.

Taking to Twitter, he wrote, “I am extremely pleased that the two counts alleging I engaged in a conspiracy against Nike have just been dismissed by Trump’s DOJ” — referring to the Department of Justice under President Donald Trump. “I expect to be fully exonerated when it is all said and done.”


 

In March, Avenatti was arrested 15 minutes after he tweeted that he planned to reveal a basketball bribery scandal. Federal prosecutors charged him with four counts related to accusations that he plotted to siphon more than $20 million from the Swoosh by threatening to disclose evidence of misconduct by one of his clients, ahead of the company’s third-quarter report. He alleged that Nike made illicit payments to elite student athletes, among them No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Zion Williamson.

Neither Nike nor Avenatti immediately responded to FN’s request for comment. The attorney, who rose to fame while representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump, has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. A trial is set for January 21.

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Michael Avenatti Indicted for Attempting to Extort Millions From Nike

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