“Empire” star Jussie Smollett managed to take media attention away from former Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti the past couple weeks. Now Avenatti is back in the news as he releases the allegations he brought against Nike — the ones he risked his entire career for.
Late last month, the attorney was arrested on charges of extortion and wire and bank fraud. The extortion charge involved his alleged plot to demand millions of dollars out of Nike lest he release damaging information about a scandal he claims they’re involved in.
According to the Washington Post, authorities say the lawyer had threatened to hold the damaging press conference unless Nike “paid his client $1.5 million and agreed to hire Avenatti and another lawyer for $15 to $25 million to conduct an ‘internal investigation’ into the allegations.”
Avenatti was caught by a sting operation conducted by federal investigators in cooperation with Nike.
Another strange twist in all this is that infamous lawyer Mark Geragos, who represents Smollett and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, was named as a co-conspirator.
Avenatti was released from jail on a $300,000 bond, according to Business Insider, and he’s back on Twitter now. On Friday and Saturday, he sent out a slew of tweets detailing his accusations against Nike.
Nike has not responded directly to Avenatti and “will continue its cooperation with the government's investigation into grassroots basketball and the related extortion case,” according to a statement from the company, Yahoo Sports reported.
Yahoo Sports noted that Avenatti’s allegations against Nike are not too dissimilar to a scandal involving Adidas, which got an Adidas executive and consultant both hit with fraud convictions.
“None of the details in the documents [about the alleged Nike scandal] would be particularly surprising to anyone in college basketball,” Yahoo Sports pointed out.
Even if Avenatti is correct, this likely won’t be the pinnacle moment in his career that he was hoping for.