It looks like Michael Avenatti has made bail, and the "creepy porn lawyer" - whom federal prosecutors on both coasts charged with extortion, embezzlement and bank fraud in a series of indictments announced yesterday - has a message for all of his disappointed fans in the American cable-news cabal.
In a tweet, Avenatti denied charges that he and a cooperating co-conspirator, believed to be celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos (who is representing Jussie Smollett and Colin Kaepernick), tried to extort more than $20 million from Nike after allegedly learning about illegal payoffs made by the company to amateur youth athletes. Charges contained in separate indictment filed by federal prosecutors in California - which alleged that he embezzled settlement money from a client and committed bank fraud - were left unaddressed.
After thanking his supporters, Avenatti said he's "anxious for people to see what really happened" and that "we never tried to extort Nike and that when the evidence is disclosed, the public will see the truth about Nike's crime & coverup."
I want to thank all of my supporters for your kind words and support today. It means a lot to me. I am anxious for people to see what really happened. We never attempted to extort Nike & when the evidence is disclosed, the public will learn the truth about Nike’s crime & coverup.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 26, 2019
Meanwhile, in a statement to Fox News, Avenatti addressed the embezzlement charges, denouncing them as "politically motivated" (he said the same thing about his assault charges) and insisting that the had been entitled to every dollar he received.
Avenatti told Fox News that the lawyers who had been suing him for taking a clients' settlement fund - the lawyers apparently got local prosecutors involved - have political motivations and are "close" to the Trump administration. Fox reported that the client in question was Gregory Barela, a person whom Avenattii claimed has close ties to Trump. Barela also has a separate civil suit moving forward against Avenatti. It is presently in Arbitration.
Fox News has exclusively obtained text messages and email conversations between Avenatti, 48, and the former client, Gregory Barela, which documented Barela's efforts for several months in 2018 to locate and obtain funds he was owed pursuant to a settlement agreement that resulted from his intellectual property dispute with an out-of-state company.
Financial documents also reviewed by Fox News show that the money had been wired to an account designated by Avenatti on Jan. 5, 2018, but that Avenatti apparently continued to dodge increasingly frantic questions from the client as to where the funds were.
"We did nothing wrong and were entitled to every dollar received," Avenatti told Fox News. "And of course, [Barela] is represented by a person close to Trump."
The charges, which took the public by surprise when they were announced Monday afternoon, less than an hour after Avenatti sent Nike shares reeling with a tweet about an impending press conference, have likely destroyed the last shreds of credibility enjoyed by the California lawyer. And though he had ruled out pursuing the 2020 Democratic nomination after a previous arrest (he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman), one would think that, given the rapidly anti-corporate bent of the ascendant "Democratic Socialist" wing of the Democratic Party, Avenatti might be welcomed as a hero - a kind of contemporary Robin Hood.