Attorney Michael Avenatti, who became known as advocate for adult movie star Stormy Daniels, was indicted in California and New York in two separate cases, federal prosecutors announced Monday.
The US Attorney for The Southern District of New York has indicted Avenatti for alleged attempts to blackmail Nike for nearly $ 20 million. The prosecution said he and another lawyer threatened to release harmful information about the company if it did not meet his demands.
The US attorney in Los Angeles separately announced that Avenatti is announcing bank and wire fraud charges for alleged embezzlement of a plaintiff's money and a fraudulent prosecution of a bank's money through false tax returns.
Avenatti was arrested in New York and appeared in a federal court in Manhattan on Monday afternoon. He was released on the basis of a $ 300,000 Personal Certificate of Appreciation and assigned to hand over his passport. He must also report all transactions in the amount of $ 5,000 or more to the court, and his travel is restricted. He is expected to appear in California on April 1
The New York lawsuit alleges that Avenatti and a suspected co-conspirator, a lawyer known as "CC-1," called for a meeting with Nike attorneys in New York last Tuesday, March 19 , Two of the lawyers are represented by Nike as an external lawyer at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, and one lawyer works for Nike in-house.
CBS News has learned that CC-1 is Mark Geragos, the prominent celebrity attorney whose clients include the former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and actor Jussie Smollett. Geragos was not charged in the complaint published on Monday. His office said he has no comment on the allegations.
During the meeting in the office of Geragos Avenatti said he represents the coach of a basketball team of an amateur sports association (AAU) in California, whose contract with Nike had not been renewed. He said the coach has evidence that Nike employees made illegal payments to high school basketball students and their families.
Coach Avenatti said he was Gary Franklin from Los Angeles, CBS News learned. Franklin is co-founder and executive director of the California Supreme, a basketball program in Southern California.
Avenatti allegedly threatened with a press conference describing the allegations of the start of the NCAA basketball tournament and Nike's quarterly earnings call. The lawsuit alleges that Avenatti offered to abolish the press conference when Nike paid his client $ 1.5 million and ordered Avenatti to conduct an internal investigation of the company.
Following the late afternoon meeting, Nike lawyers contacted the US Attorney's Office to report the alleged blackmail attempt.
The next day on March 20, two of the Nike lawyers held a phone call with Avenatti, who was recorded by law enforcement. Avenatti allegedly repeated his requests for payment for him and his customers.
"I'm not busy and I'm not playing anymore," Avenatti said. "You're sick of it now to know that you have a serious problem, and it's worth more if I just push the lid on this thing, a few million dollars will not move the needle, I'm just me really honest with you. "
" I'll leave and I'll take $ 10 billion off your customer's market capitalization, but I'm not shit, "he said.
In March 21 – the day of the Nike Win Call and the first day of the NCAA Tournament – the group met again in New York, with the Nike lawyers recording the meeting. They asked Avenatti and Geragos if they could initiate a payment without an internal investigation.
"If [Nike] wants a confidential solution and we're done, they can buy that for $ 22.5 million and they're done, Avenatti is quoted as saying." Full confidentiality, we're going into the sunset. "
Avenatti set a deadline on Monday, March 25, to make an agreement and arrange another meeting.A early Monday afternoon, Avenatti tweeted : "Tmrw at 11 pm ET, we will have a press conference to hold one important high school / college basketball scandal exposed by @Nike, whom we uncovered. "
He was arrested when he appeared at the meeting in New York, said the US Attorney Geoffrey Berman at a press conference.
In a statement on Monday afternoon, Nike said: "Do not be blackmailed or hide information relevant to a government investigation." [19659016"Nikehasbeenworkingonthegovernment'sinvestigationofNCAAbasketballformorethanayearandwhenNikebecameawareofthisNikeimmediatelyreportedittofederalprosecutors"thecompanysaid"Nikebelievesinethicalandfairplaybothinthebusinessworldandinsportsandwillcontinuetohelptheprosecutors"
In California, prosecutors Avenatti complained of wire breakage and said he was negotiating a settlement of $ 1.6 million for a customer but used the money for personal use and to cover expenses for his coffee business.
Avenatti is also charged with bank fraud in California. According to the lawsuit, Avenatti lied more than $ 4 million in loans to a bank in Mississippi in 2014. The complaint alleges that Avenatti has given fake tax returns to People's Bank, which has generated more than $ 14 million in revenue over the previous three years. The lawsuit alleges that Avenatti never offered returns in those years and owed the IRS $ 850,000 from previous years.
Avenatti became prominent for his representation of Daniels, the adult movie star who allegedly had an affair with President Trump, and was paid for her silence in the weeks leading up to the 2016 elections. On Monday Daniels said that she broke off contact with Avenatti more than a month ago, "after finding out that he had treated me as being extremely dishonest."
Lex Haris contributed to this report.