If Michael Avenatti is going to shakedown a Fortune 500 company, he shouldn’t memorialize the stunt in a tweet.
For all his brilliance, attorney Michael Avenatti – who represented porn star Stormy Daniels – has found himself in a legal mess that requires a whiteboard to explain. He’s been charged with three different felonies by two different jurisdictions on opposite ends of the country in the same day.
The allegations suggest Avenatti tried to swindle $20 million out of athletic apparel giant Nike. It seems Avenatti was so busy perpetrating a treasure trove of crimes, he missed the failed extortion plot involving Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
To face a bounty of charges in multiple jurisdictions is quite an accomplishment for Avenatti or anyone else, for that matter. You’d think the arrests would have something to do with Stormy Daniels and the legal issues she lobbed at President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen.
They allegedly parted ways weeks back.
That could have been just fine for Avenatti. In trying to get millions out of Nike, the attorney was out in California using a client’s trust fund as his own personal piggy bank. To secure a loan from a Mississippi bank, he potentially supplied inflated tax returns.
You may have heard it said that arrogance comes before a fall. Too many learn this the hard way. Ask Avenatti.
He had the nerve to pretty much tell Nike, “Give me the money or else.” It was an attempt to ride on the coattails of an ongoing lawsuit over the company authorizing payments to the families of top high school basketball players.
He must have really been feeling confident Monday afternoon when he tweeted this:
Within 30 minutes of the post, law enforcement officials in New York were putting him in handcuffs.
A suit and tie doesn’t mask the fact that at its core, this was a good old-fashioned shakedown.
While Avenatti was trying to extort Nike, he was allegedly also tapping a client’s trust fund. Prosecutors in California said when the client inquired about when they’d receive a payment from the trust, Avenatti gave them the wrong date and stalled.
In the meantime, he was pushing fraudulent tax returns on the bank so he could secure a huge loan. A California federal prosecutor said :
A lawyer has a basic duty not to steal from his client. Mr. Avenatti is facing serious criminal charges that he misappropriated a client’s trust fund for his personal use. He defrauded a bank by submitting phony tax returns in order to obtain millions of dollars in loans.
This is the kind of crazy that many weren’t surprised to hear. Many had misgivings about Avenatti’s character early on. Indeed, but for the Stormy/Cohen/Trump legal debacle, he would not have skyrocketed to actually being considered a presidential candidate.
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