- Michael Avenatti was charged on Monday with attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike. As the Wall Street Journal first reported, his alleged co-conspirator is powerhouse criminal defence attorney Mark Geragos.
- Geragos has defended a slew of notable celebrity clients, including Michael Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Kesha, and Jussie Smollett. He was also a legal analyst for CNN.
- A CNN spokesperson told INSIDER that Geragos is no longer a CNN contributor. His law firm, Geragos & Geragos, told INSIDER that they have no comment at this time.
The alleged co-conspirator in the extortion case against Michael Avenatti, who rose to prominence last year for representing adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, is high-profile attorney and CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos.
Avenatti was charged in two federal cases for wire fraud, bank fraud, and attempting to extort more than $US20 million from Nike on Monday. In charging documents filed in the Southern District of New York, prosecutors said that Avenatti threatened to release damaging information about Nike if the company refused to pay him millions of dollars.
An FBI agent wrote in a court filing that Avenatti planned to hold a press conference, prior to the NCAA tournament and the company’s quarterly earnings call, to announce allegations of misconduct by Nike employees – unless the company paid him a hefty sum.
Avenatti allegedly said that “as soon as this becomes public, I am going to receive calls from all over the country from parents and coaches and friends and all kinds of people… it’s always bullshit 90% of the time, always, whether it’s R. Kelly or Trump, the list goes on and on – but 10% of it is actually going to be true, and then what’s going to happen is that this is going to snowball.”
“Every time we got more information, that’s going to be the Washington Post, the New York Times, ESPN, a press conference, and the company will die,” he added.
News of Avenatti’s indictment followed a tweet he posted on Monday saying he planned to hold a press conference tomorrow “to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered.”
Avenatti’s supposed allegations against Nike stem from a client he represented, identified in the complaint as the coach of an amateur basketball program in California, who prosecutors say had a sponsorship agreement with Nike. The athletic wear behemoth decided not to renew the contract with that client, according to the filing.
Mark Geragos has defended Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, and Colin Kaepernick
Following the news of the allegations, the Wall Street Journal reported that attorney Mark Geragos is the co-conspirator in the scandal, per two people familiar with the matter, referred to in the document as “CC-1.” He is not named in the criminal complaint.
“Avenatti and a co-conspirator… devised a scheme to extort a company by means of an interstate communication by threatening to damage the company’s reputation if the company did not agree to make multi-million dollar payments to Avenatti and CC-1,” the filing reads.
Geragos is best known as a powerhouse criminal defence lawyer with a slew of notable clients, such as Winona Ryder, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Nicole Richie, Colin Kaepernick, Kesha, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Mike Tyson. Most recently, he represented Jussie Smollett following the actor’s alleged staging of a homophobic and racist attack in Chicago.
Geragos is also a legal analyst for CNN. Per his bio on the site, he is “the principal with the internationally known Trial Law Firm of Geragos & Geragos, APC,” and “has represented some of the most prominent figures in the world over the last 30 years.” He has previously been named a “lawyer of the year” in both the criminal and civil arenas, and was the former president of the National Trial Lawyers Association.
Following the news on Monday, a CNN spokesperson told INSIDER that Geragos is no longer a CNN contributor.
The law firm Geragos & Geragos told INSIDER that they have no comment at this time.
- Read more:
- ‘I’m not f—ing around’: Prosecutors outlined brazen details on how Michael Avenatti allegedly attempted to extort more than $US20 million from Nike
- Meet Michael Avenatti, the former professional sports car driver who represented Stormy Daniels and was just charged for attempting to extort more than $US20 million from Nike
- Michael Avenatti takes a victory lap after prosecutors recommend ‘substantial’ prison time for Michael Cohen
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