Avenatti’s first scheduled appearance involves charges that he tried to shake down athletic gear giant Nike for $20 million. He is then set to be arraigned before a different judge for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars from his former client Stormy Daniels, a porn star who allegations claim had an affair with President Trump.
In the Nike case, Avenatti is charged with one count of extortion, one count of sending interstate communications with intent to extort and two counts of conspiracy, while in the Stormy Daniels case, he is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Together, if convicted, he could face a total of 69 years in prison.
“I want to face a jury in both New York cases as soon as reasonably possible, and when I do, I will be exonerated,” he said in an email last week. He initially was arrested on March 25 at a New York law firm where he had scheduled a meeting with Nike executives.
Six days earlier, prosecutors said, Avenatti and a co-conspirator identified by several news outlets as celebrity attorney Mark Geragos met with attorneys for Nike on March 19 and "threatened to release damaging information" if the company did not agree to make multi-million dollar payments to them, as well as an additional $1.5 million payment to a California youth basketball coach Avenatti claimed to represent.
“I’ll go take $10 billion off your client’s market cap … I’m not f*king around,” Avenatti allegedly told Nike, according to court papers.
The lawyer was formally indicted in the Nike matter this past Wednesday, and that same day, prosecutors indicted him in the Daniels case, in which they claimed Avenatti stole two payments totalling $297,500 from an advance Daniels was supposed to receive from a book deal in the summer of 2018 and spent the money on “airfare, hotels, car services, restaurants and meal delivery, online retailers, payroll for his law firm and another business he owned, and insurance.”
These are not the only charges Avenatti is facing. In March, federal prosecutors in southern California accused Avenatti of committing bank fraud and wire fraud by embezzling settlement money from five clients, including a paraplegic man, to pay personal expenses and debts — as well as those of his coffee business and law firm. If convicted of all 36 counts in the California case, Avenatti faces up to 335 years in prison.