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Avenatti's Alleged Co-Conspirator Is a Huge Name in Legal Circles

Mark Geragos has represented Michael Jackson, Jussie Smollett, and more
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2019 10:09 AM CDT
Attorney Mark Geragos talks to the media during a news conference in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 2, 2016.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

(Newser) Michael Avenatti is in hot water legally on accusations that he tried to extort Nike. Turns out, his alleged co-conspirator is a big name, too. CNN was among numerous outlets Monday to name Mark Geragos as the unnamed co-conspirator in the indictment. After doing so, the network fired Geragos as an on-air legal analyst, reports Deadline. Geragos is described by the Washington Post as "the go-to attorney for the rich and famous," with everyone from Michael Jackson to Jussie Smollett on his roster of current or former clients. But "he's no longer a contributor" to CNN, the network's media writer, Brian Stelter, tweeted. Geragos is not charged with a crime, but his alleged involvement in the Avenatti case has shocked many, including professor Jessica Levinson of Loyola Law School, who points to his reputation and no previous flags for misconduct, per the AP.

Geragos is about as high-profile a lawyer as you can get. He made a name for himself representing Bill Clinton's former business partner Susan McDougal in the Whitewater scandal, then nabbed clients including murderer Scott Peterson and celebrities Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, and Chris Brown. Just last year, he helped negotiate a multimillion-dollar deal between Colin Kaepernick and Nike. He approached Nike again last week, this time with Avenatti, allegedly asking $15 million to $25 million to conduct an internal investigation into payments funneled to high school basketball players and their families. The two lawyers have a recent history: Per the Hollywood Reporter, Avenatti consulted with Geragos about an allegation of domestic violence against Avenatti in November. (Read more Mark Geragos stories.)

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