Michael Avenatti, the celebrity attorney who previously represented pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels and Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick, has been arrested on suspicion of extortion.
As recently as five months ago, Avenatti was a frequent fixture on cable news and prolific anti-Trump pundit. He was viewed as a potential Democratic presidential candidate until he declared in December that he wouldn't run. Now he could be headed to prison.
According to federal prosecutors, Avenatti attempted to extort Nike for millions of dollars, threatening to hold a press conference that would call to light unflattering details about the company's connection to the college bribery scandal unless executives agreed to pay him.
Avenatti made his demands last week. Representatives for Nike immediately contacted the authorities, who then recorded Avenatti's subsequent phone calls with the company, in which he foolishly restated his demands over and over again. The transcripts of these calls are fairly entertaining: Avenatti makes threat after threat—"I'm not fucking around with this…I'll go take 10 billion dollars off [Nike's] market cap"—completely unaware that the feds are listening. At one point Avenatti asks Nike's lawyer whether he has ever "held the balls of the client in your hand where you could take five to six billion dollars market cap off of them"?
On Monday, Avenatti tweeted that he would be holding a press conference to announce criminal conduct at the "highest levels of Nike." If he still intends to hold that conference, he may have to do it from jail.