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Avenatti Tells CBS: ‘Facts are on My Side’ in Nike Extortion Case

Avenatti Tells CBS: ‘Facts are on My Side’ in Nike Extortion Case

“I am nervous. I’m concerned. I’m scared.”

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti faces federal charges of extortion, bank fraud, and wire fraud in New York and California. He left jail on Monday after posting a $300,000 bond.

Avenatti almost immediately sat down with CBS News to explain his side of the story. He claims he never tried to extort Nike, but admits he’s “nervous” and scared” at the thought of spending the rest of his life in prison.

The federal prosecutors wrote in documents that Avenatti and a client claimed “they had evidence that Nike had funneled money to recruits in exchange for their commitments to college teams sponsored by Nike and that they would release them in order to damage Nike’s reputation and market capitalization unless Nike paid them between $15 and $25 million.” The document stated the alleged crime took place this month.

The complaint states that Avenatti and his co-conspirator met with Nike’s attorneys where they “threatened to release damaging information” if Nike “did not agree to make multi-million dollar payments to them, as well as an additional $1.5 million payment to a client Avenatti claimed to represent.”

Southern District of New York US Attorney Geoffrey Berman maintained that Avenatti didn’t act like a lawyer with Nike and described the scheme as “an old-fashioned shakedown.”

In California, federal prosecutors accused Avenatti of embezzling money from a client “to pay his own expenses and debts — as well as those of his coffee business and law firm — and also defrauded a bank by using phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans.”

Correspondent Jericka Duncan flat out asked Avenatti if he tried to extort Nike:

“No, and any suggestion is absolutely absurd. Nike knew, from the very first moment that I had any contact with Nike, that I was insisting that the truth about what Nike had done be disclosed to federal prosecutors and investigators,” he responded.

“What is the truth?”

“The truth is, for years Nike and its executives have been funneling payments to amateur players, high school players and to their handlers and family members in an effort to get them to go to colleges that were Nike colleges and ultimately hopefully to the NBA so they can sign a shoe deal with Nike,” Avenatti said.

Duncan mentioned the complaint against Avenatti and the allegations he tried to extort Nike for over $20 million. He did not “get into specifics of this,” but insisted the complaint is not framed accurately:

It’s just not accurate. And in fact, from the very first moment that we had any meeting with Nike, we made it clear that under no circumstances would we participate in anything that did not require full disclosure to investigators and the federal government.”

Avenatti brushed aside the charges in California because the client in the complaint “is currently on felony probation in California.” He noted the client has a long “criminal background and rap sheet associated with his conduct.” He appeared disgusted the feds didn’t mention this in the complaint, but honestly, why would they!? It has nothing to do with Avenatti’s alleged criminal behavior.

When Duncan asked Avenatti about prison, we finally see the arrogant shell around him breakdown just a little:

“You’re facing — if convicted on all of these charges — up to the rest of your life in prison. Are you nervous?” Duncan asked.

“Well, of course I’m nervous,” Avenatti responded.

“Are you scared? Are you concerned? I mean, tell us I guess as someone who, again, has a history of representing people and now you’re on the other side facing some serious charges,” Duncan said.

“I am nervous. I’m concerned. I’m scared,” Avenatti said.

“But you also seem confident.”

“I am confident because I believe the facts are on my side,” Avenatti said.

Avenatti should be nervous and scared. While he showcases confidence and smugness, anyone who watched the news conferences with the feds in California and New York know that they have the same confidence in their cases against him.


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I’m trying to come up with an instance where the facts have ever been on the side of Avenatti. So far, no luck.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to topcat69. | March 27, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    I am looking forward to Avenatti being convicted, disbarred and then that cocky attitude and smirk disappearing.

With the eight+ trimester warlock trial seemingly at an end, and a general consensus that the President is now viable, it must be known that Avenatti failed to perform, has suffered a fall from grace, and is now a liability. Is Nike still kneeling for civil rights?

casualobserver | March 27, 2019 at 11:44 am

I know there are many professional attorneys associated with this site and commenting. But I’m guessing most would agree that Avenatti is perhaps one of the BEST personification of every worst stereotype and characteristic of what the general public hates about lawyers. Nearly every deroggatory description applies. Dishonest. Double-talking. Sleezy. Untrustworthy. Lying. Anything-for-a-buck. Unscrupulous. Etc.

He’s just the worst kind of…….shyster? Law schools should have classes about him. Avenatti 101….

    tom_swift in reply to casualobserver. | March 27, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    To be fair, some of his jacket/shirt/tie combinations are quite good. And . . . well, that’s about it.

      Arminius in reply to tom_swift. | March 27, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      Join the US Navy! Get stationed in Spain. Marry a hot Spanish wife. She’ll make sure you dress like a dork forever.

      Arminius in reply to tom_swift. | March 27, 2019 at 1:23 pm

      Maybe my last was unclear. Because of Operation Global Reach, the desire of the USN to marry off as many Sailors to Foreign Nationals as possible, I’ve learned a few things.

      One is that I don’t know what suit goes with what shirt, and how to match the tie with the kerchief. Because I’ve either been wearing cammies or a nylon fun suit my entire life.

      OK, that’s for a chief. I was an occifer. I don’t want to get duct taped to a pier below the high tide mark (probably explains why I live in the DFW area and all I have to worry about is gators).

      But the stereotype, and there’s always a kernel of truth in stereotypes, is that if you marry a Spanish woman she will take advantage of the fact that you her Sailor husband doesn’t know how to dress himself and make him the least likely to get laid guy in Europe.

      Arminius in reply to tom_swift. | March 27, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      I suppose it’s a good thing that I don’t know what suit goes with what shirt goes with what tie. Because that will constantly remind me not to extort companies for cash.

      See? All the money I saved on law school?

    They show up from law school on. There are a few who seem destined to have clusters of rules of conduct named after them.

    As a non-lawyer, I find it interesting to watch his bits with the sound off. Seriously, he has the posturing of Pure Sincerity, the Looking Straight Without Flinching of the honest, and the Snappy Dresser and Well Groomed appearance down cold.

    All that is ruined if you turn the sound back on, though.

I think he’ll get a walk on the NY case because how is it possible that Mark Geragos, that shining example of lawyerly ethics couldn’t possibly be involved in a shakedown, could he?

Yes, tell that to the jury. See you in 10-35 Mike.

Did Avenatti marry into the Kardashian family or something?

“Extortion is on my side.” – Michael Avenatti

What he must should be afraid of is that the Feds don’t indict unless they believe they can win, and they win win more than 85% of the time.

    Tom Servo in reply to Chgolaw. | March 27, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Yep – *maybe* there’s some other things going on in the New York extortion case. I doubt it, but maybe. However, the California misuse of funds case is where they have got him nailed. He was in possession of $1.6 million of his client’s funds. He told his client he didn’t have it, then he paid all of his own bills with it, and then he told his client he had no idea why no one had sent the money yet. No doubt about that one. He’s going down hard.

I think he’s got good taste in cars and apartments or homes, even if they’re not paid for.

Ok everybody, bets are on. Finish this sentence

I predict that Avenatti’s first prison tattoo will be …

“I am nervous. I’m concerned. I’m scared.”

“I’m guilty.”

I really do not understand how this man managed to come upon so much money, as did his two law firms. He shows little legal aptitude.

Avenatti reminds me of a guy whose wife has walked in on them having sex with the nanny. It’s the next day and he’s still in the house and under some delusion thinks the can still talk his way out of it. This is the guy that recently (alleged) smacked around his girl friend. This won’t end well.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to ghost dog. | March 27, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    “this won’t end well”

    From whose perspective, Avenatti’s, or the rest of humanity? I am hopeful we will see Avenatti in jail, that would be a great end.

“The truth is, for years Nike and its executives have been funneling payments to amateur players, high school players and to their handlers and family members in an effort to get them to go to colleges that were Nike colleges and ultimately hopefully to the NBA so they can sign a shoe deal with Nike,” Avenatti said.

How does this make any sense? And if true, how would it be illegal?

    Tom Servo in reply to Milhouse. | March 27, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Exactly – I can see it pissing off the NCAA, and running afoul of some of their regulations. But NCAA ain’t “law”.

    Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | March 27, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Moreover, it is illegal, how does it beat the video and audio recordings (assuming the reports are correct, which we can’t take for granted) that say Avenatti was willing to shut up and not expose the company if they paid him enough?

    That’s still extortion. It seems to me that Avenatti, now caught in a noose of his own making, is merely carrying out his threat. And proving the prosecution’s case.

    Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | March 27, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    I’m trying to fight the auto edit function my laptop has assigned itself. My point was that Avenatti could be entirely correct about NiKe and still be guilty of extortion.

OleDirtyBarrister | March 27, 2019 at 5:53 pm

The California criminal proceedings are going to get worse for Avenatti before they get worse.

From the L.A. Times:

The first sign of trouble came in 2009 when, the IRS said, he reported $1.9 million in personal income but failed to pay $570,000 in taxes. The next year, the IRS said, Avenatti reported $1.2 million in income but skipped out on a $282,000 tax bill.

Since then, according to federal prosecutors, Avenatti has filed no personal income tax returns, even as he deposited $18 million into his bank accounts.

The article continues, and this is probably the worst part of his tax crimes, which is withholding taxes and stealing the money:

His tax avoidance appeared to escalate, according to the IRS, when Avenatti pursued a side business, buying Tully’s, a Seattle-based coffee chain, in 2013 for $9 million. By late 2015, Avenatti’s company, Global Baristas U.S., was withholding taxes from employee paychecks but — at his instruction — failing to send the money to the government, the IRS alleged.

Managers of the company told the IRS they were mortified; one called the move “unethical” and another said Avenatti’s “moral compass didn’t point north.”

OleDirtyBarrister | March 27, 2019 at 7:07 pm

Avenatti told the SDNY he is too broke to afford legal representation and will be repped by the Federal Defenders.

This POS lies to his client about a settlement date because he had converted the proceeds to his own use. He thought he could get away with it because his client “had a rap sheet.”

His law license is gone. Many State Bar’s tolerate much impropriety from their lawyers, but stealing a client’s money is the sure-fire way to lose your law license.

Avenatti’s personal Ponzi Scheme life is due for a massive implosion.

Avenatti‘s plan is simple: become POTUS, say ‘PARDON ME’

Great. This is like an admission that “I didn’t break into THAT store, officer.” Who caught me with stolen goods.

Now explain away the tax fraud, bank fraud, and embezzlement, maggot.

This psycho media whore avenatti wants attention, at any cost.

Even if it means his freedom. He’s that desperate and that sick.