The Latest: Nike statement says it 'will not be extorted'

Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2019 By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the arrest of attorney Michael Avenatti (all times local):

1:12 p.m.

Nike says it has been cooperating with the federal government's ongoing investigation of college basketball for more than a year.

The company issued a statement Monday saying it "will not be extorted or hide information that is relevant to a government investigation."

The statement followed the arrest of celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti on federal extortion charges.

Federal prosecutors say Avenatti threatened to hold a news conference to announce damaging allegations against Nike if the company didn't pay him more than $20 million.

Nike officials told investigators Avenatti claimed to know of rules violations by an amateur basketball team sponsored by the company.

Nike said it "believes in ethical and fair play, both in business and sports, and will continue to assist the prosecutors."

Avenatti also is charged in Los Angeles with bank and wire fraud. He's accused of embezzling a client's money to pay his own expenses.

___

12:24 p.m.

Federal prosecutors in New York say their investigation of the firebrand attorney Michael Avenatti began only last week and was complete in days.

At a news conference Monday in Manhattan, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said the apparel giant Nike contacted his office March 19 and claimed that Avenatti was trying to extort the company.

Nike officials told investigators Avenatti claimed to know of rules violations by an amateur basketball team sponsored by Nike.

They said he threatened to make the wrongdoing public unless the company paid him tens of millions of dollars.

Berman says investigators recorded subsequent discussions between Nike and Avenatti, then arrested him Monday on extortion conspiracy charges.

Avenatti was in custody Monday and not responding to phone calls or texts.

Nike Inc. did not respond to a request for comment.

___

12:15 p.m.

A federal prosecutor says there's no political connection to wire and bank fraud charges filed against lawyer Michael Avenatti, who's a vocal critic of President Donald Trump.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna in Los Angeles says the charges announced Monday began with Internal Revenue Service tax collection efforts and came to prosecutors in an ordinary way.

The case alleges in part that Avenatti collected a $1.6 million settlement for a client and used it for his own interests.

Hanna says the timing of the announcement had nothing to do with the weekend release of a summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump's campaign.

Hanna says he had no idea when the Mueller report would be presented.

Avenatti is best known for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump and also is charged with extortion in New York.

___

11:55 a.m.

Porn star Stormy Daniels says she's "saddened but not shocked" over the arrest of her former attorney, Michael Avenatti.  

Daniels issued a statement Monday on Twitter saying she fired Avenatti a month ago after "discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly." She said she wouldn't elaborate. 

Avenatti is best known for representing Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump and has been charged with extortion in New York and bank and wire fraud in California.  

Avenatti represented Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in a lawsuit to break a confidentiality agreement to speak about her alleged affair with Trump.  

An email to Avenatti's office and phone and text messages sent to his phone seeking comment haven't been immediately returned.

___

11:40 a.m.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna in Los Angeles says lawyer Michael Avenatti could face up to 50 years in prison if convicted on wire and bank fraud charges.

The critic of President Donald Trump and private attorney who formerly represented porn star Stormy Daniels was arrested Monday in New York on federal charges there and in California.

Hanna says the case filed in Los Angeles on Friday and unsealed Monday paints "an ugly picture of lawless conduct and greed."

Hanna says the case had nothing to do with politics and the facts speak for themselves. He says the Mueller report had nothing to with the timing of the announcement.

The case alleges in part that Avenatti collected a $1.6 million settlement for a client and used it for his own interests.

___

10:25 a.m.

U.S. prosecutors have charged Trump critic and attorney Michael Avenatti with extortion and bank and wire fraud.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles said Avenatti was arrested Monday in New York.

Spokesman Ciaran McEvoy says the lawyer best known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump faces federal charges in New York and California.

In New York, he was accused of threatening to use his ability to get publicity to harm Nike. Prosecutors say he demanded that the apparel company give him $10 million.

Prosecutors in California planned to release more details at a news conference later Monday.

Avenatti represented Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in a lawsuit to break a confidentiality agreement to speak about her alleged affair with Trump.

Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of analysts' upgrades, downgrades and new coverage with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.

Yahoo Gemini Pixel