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Michael Avenatti released on $300,000 bond, travel restricted



Attorney Michael Avenatti was released on a $300,000 bond in New York after prosecutors accused him of trying to extort over $20 million from Nike.

Avenatti on Monday night gave his first public remarks since his arrest: “I have fought against the powerful, powerful people, and powerful corporations. I will never stop fighting that good fight,” Avenatti said in front of TV news cameras.

“I am highly confident that when all of the evidence is laid bare, in connection with these cases, when it is all known, when due process occurs, that I will be fully exonerated and justice will be done.”

Avenatti was ordered to surrender his passport and disclose single transactions that are at least $5,000, in addition to being required to appear in federal court in April.

Earlier on Monday, federal prosecutors charged Avenatti and alleged he threatened to “use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met.”

In a tweet the same day he was taken into custody, Avenatti said he would hold a press conference on Tuesday “to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by [Nike] was taken into custody.”

The attorney described Nike’s alleged criminal conduct as reaching “the highest levels” of the company, which involved “some of the biggest names in college basketball,” he said.

Avenatti had met with Nike executives at a law firm before he was arrested. Federal prosecutors recorded Avenatti’s meeting with Nike as part of a sting operation, the Los Angeles Times reported. He faces a maximum of 97 years in prison if he’s convicted on all counts, the newspaper said.

Avenatti is also charged with bank and wire fraud in a separate case in the Central District of California. The attorney is reportedly accused of taking client funds to pay off personal expenses and defrauding a bank in Mississippi.

Attorney and former CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos was also implicated in case, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Geragos, who has represented a number of high-profile figures and celebrities over the years, is not explicitly named in the criminal complaint but was identified by The Journal’s sources to be a co-conspirator with Avenatti.

Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, a former Avenatti client who helped elevate his profile since he began representing her in 2018, said she was “saddened but not shocked” by the charges.

“I made the decision more than a month ago to terminate Michael’s services after discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly and there will be more announcements to come,” she said in a statement.

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