Michael Avenatti arrested one week before Nike trial

Dan Wetzel
FILE  - In this Oct 8, 2019, file photo, attorney Michael Avenatti leaves Manhattan Federal court in New York. Avenatti has a hearing Wednesday, Nov. 13 in his effort to again take one of his law firms into bankruptcy proceedings. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Michael Avenatti is due in court on Jan. 21, but that is now in jeopardy after his arrest in California. (AP)

Just one week before the start of the first of three federal trials this year where he will sit as the defendant, lawyer Michael Avenatti was arrested Tuesday in California on “potential violations of the conditions of [his] pretrial release,” according to a court filing.

There were no details provided on what those potential violations may entail. The arrest occurred following a disciplinary hearing at the State Bar Court in Los Angeles. Avenatti is expected to appear in federal court Wednesday.

The arrest comes as Avenatti was scheduled to stand trial Jan. 21 in the Southern District of New York on charges stemming from allegedly trying to extort Nike.

The government alleges Avenatti, 48, tried to shake down Nike by demanding payments to not reveal potential damaging information about conduct inside the company's grassroots basketball division, the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL).

Avenatti has countered that he was merely representing a client who was acting as a whistleblower, a former Nike youth basketball coach who knew of potentially illegal conduct by Nike executives. Whether that trial still begins next week is unknown. Also on Tuesday, a judge in New York denied Avenatti’s request for a 30-day continuance.

Avenatti is also slated to defend himself in May 2020 in California on numerous federal charges stemming from a 36-count indictment that alleges he stole millions from clients, committed bank and wire fraud, lied during bankruptcy proceedings and didn’t pay taxes.

He additionally is facing a third federal trial this spring in New York for allegedly stealing some of the proceeds of a book deal by former client Stormy Daniels, a porn star who was allegedly paid $130,000 to not reveal she had a relationship with Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Avenatti came to national fame by defending Daniels and becoming a vocal critic of Trump.

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