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Defiant Avenatti Is Freed on $300K Bond

He's accused of 'old-fashioned shakedown'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2019 1:49 AM CDT
Attorney Michael Avenatti delivers remarks in front of federal court after his initial appearance in an extortion case Monday, March 25, 2019, in New York.   (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)
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(Newser) – A defiant Michael Avenatti was freed on $300,000 bond and promised to keep "fighting that good fight" Monday night after his arrest on charges including extortion and wire fraud. Stormy Daniels' former lawyer, who did not enter a plea during an appearance in federal court in New York, was also required to surrender his US and Italian passports, the BBC reports. "I have fought against the powerful, powerful people, and powerful corporations. I will never stop fighting that good fight," Avenatti told reporters outside the court. "I am highly confident that when all of the evidence is laid bare ... I will be fully exonerated and justice will be done." Prosecutors say Avenatti and another lawyer tried to extort millions from Nike by threatening to reveal damaging allegations.

The lawyers allegedly told Nike that the matter could be settled if the company paid them $1.5 million and hired them for another $15 million to $25 million to conduct an "internal investigation"—or simply paid them $22.5 million to "resolve any claims," the Washington Post reports. Sources tell the Post that the other attorney is celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos. "A suit and tie doesn’t mask the fact that, at its core, this was an old-fashioned shakedown," said US Attorney Geoffrey Berman. Daniels, who parted ways with Avenatti earlier this month, said she was "saddened but not shocked" by the charges, Business Insider reports. In an unrelated case in California, Avenatti is accused of embezzling a client's money to pay expenses for his coffee business. (Read more Michael Avenatti stories.)

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