Mark Geragos, the celebrity attorney and CNN analyst, is the co-conspirator cited in a federal indictment handed down Monday against Michael Avenatti, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Avenatti was indicted and arrested in New York on Monday on charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and attempting to extort $20 million from Nike Inc. According to the indictment, Avenatti threatened to publicly disparage Nike if the company did not pay him millions of dollars.
The indictment was announced less than an hour after Avenatti announced that he was holding a press conference on Tuesday about Nike.
According to The Journal, Avenatti’s co-conspirator was Geragos, a lawyer famous for representing clients like Michael Jackson, Jussie Smollett, and Colin Kaepernick.
According to the indictment, Avenatti and the alleged co-conspirator met with lawyers from Nike’s lawyers at the firm Boies Schiller on March 19. The duo said that they would release information damaging to Nike unless the company paid them more than $20 million on top of $1.5 million to a client who Avenatti was representing.
Boies Schiller lawyers agreed to record a follow-up conversation with Avenatti on behalf of federal prosecutors, according to one of The Journal’s sources.
In the March 20 phone call, Avenatti again requested the $1.5 million for his client and also sought a lucrative retainer to conduct an internal investigation of Nike.
Avenatti then threatened that if Nike failed to meet his demands, “I’ll go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap.”
“I’m not fucking around,” Avenatti said in the phone call, according to The Journal.
CNN did not return a request for comment about Geragos, who is still listed on CNN’s site as a legal analyst.
Avenatti was a frequent guest on CNN last year. The network put him on air to attack President Trump over Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006.
Daniels issued a statement after Avenatti’s arrest saying that she was “saddened but not shocked” by the news. She suggested that she will release damning information about Avenatti in the near future.
Avenatti was also indicted Monday in California on embezzlement and bank fraud charges related to a coffee business he operated.
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