Avenatti Comes Out Swinging Against Nike

He says he will reveal 'major scandal'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2019 12:40 AM CDT
Attorney Michael Avenatti leaves 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) – Attorney Michael Avenatti came out swinging Tuesday against Nike, accusing the shoemaker—without evidence—of "rampant" corruption mere hours after he was released from custody on charges he tried to extort up to $25 million from the company. In a string of posts on Twitter—a medium he has often used to accuse others of wrongdoing—Avenatti claimed Nike has funneled "large sums" of money to elite student-athletes bound for top colleges, the AP reports. Prosecutors haven't commented on whether Avenatti's information about Nike was accurate but said he crossed a line by trying to enrich himself with threats.

Avenatti's tweetstorm came the morning after he was arrested and charged in two separate federal cases. In Los Angeles, he's accused of embezzling money from a client. In New York, prosecutors say he told Nike he would reveal damaging information about its dealings with a youth basketball team unless the company paid him millions. Avenatti denied the charges in an interview Tuesday with CBS Evening News. He cited unnamed "legal experts," who he said contended that he was "well within the line as an aggressive attorney." "People make threats all the time in connection with trying to settle a case," he said. Avenatti said late Tuesday that he plans to hold a press conference Wednesday morning on "a major high school/college basketball scandal" involving Nike. (CNN has fired alleged co-conspirator Mark Geragos.)

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