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Attorney Avenatti faces extortion, embezzlement charges

Some people in Oklahoma may have heard about the attorney for Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, being taken into custody on federal charges in two different cases. One deals with embezzlement and the other with extortion.

In the latter case, Avenatti is accused of trying to extort as much as $25 million from Nike. Allegedly, Aventatti demanded the money from the company in exchange for his silence about what he says is corruption in their youth basketball program. Avenatti fought back on Twitter with the accusation that the company illegally paid youth players to attend universities funded by Nike. Although he has produced no evidence, he claims to have some.

Federal investigators have charged a number of people in a similar scheme that Adidas was involved in. Among them are business agents, coaches, and two Adidas employees. Nike was accused in the case although one coach who used to work for both Nike and Adidas has been charged. He had left Nike before the charges, but there is a wiretap of him saying that Nike engages in the same payments and that it is simply part of the youth athletic system. At least one university accused of involvement in payments from Nike says it has found no evidence of wrongdoing.

People who are being interviewed or investigated regarding white-collar crimes may want to consult with an attorney. It may be a good idea to do so even if a person is not currently a target since white-collar crime investigations may sometimes involve charging a number of people. In some cases, people may not realize they are under investigation until they are charged. An attorney may be able to assist in explaining the client's rights and preparing a strategy for defense or working out a deal with the prosecution.

Source: Associated Press, "Avenatti hit with Nike extortion claims, other charges", March 26, 2019

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