Michael Avenatti Arrested In Extortion Plot Against Nike, Conspired with Smollett’s Lawyer
After claiming to be working on behalf of an amateur basketball team in the AAU that had recently lost a Nike contract worth some $70,000 a year, Avenatti used “illegal and extortionate threats” to try and secure millions of dollars for himself from Nike. The coach from the team told Avenatti that payments had been made by Nike to high school basketball players. Avenatti threatened to make these allegations public if the company didn’t meet his demands – paying his client $1.5 million, while awarding Avenatti and a co-conspirator a multi-million dollar contract to conduct an internal investigation. Avenatti chose the timing of his plot very carefully, approaching Nike shortly before the company was set to report its Q1 earnings. At one point, he threatened to take $10 billion of Nike market cap.