CNN And MSNBC Gave Avenatti The Power To Throw His Weight At Nike

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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The Southern District of New York (SDNY) filed charges of extortion Monday against attorney Michael Avenatti, claiming he threatened Nike with negative media exposure in exchange for a payoff. And if it weren’t for the platform extended to him by networks like CNN and MSNBC, he might not have had the leverage to do so.

Federal prosecutors allege that Avenatti informed Nike he had information that could be damaging to the brand, according to the SDNY’s filings. He then reportedly claimed that he could use his leverage in the national media to inflict maximum damage — or, for a price, he could make it all go away. (RELATED: Avenatti Facing A Lot Of Years Behind Bars)

Avenatti allegedly planned to use his relationships with multiple media outlets to force whatever dirt he claimed to have on Nike into the national conversation. And CNN’s Chris Cillizza was quick to suggest that it was actually Trump who was to blame for the rise of Avenatti.

But what Cillizza left out is that those relationships exist because outlets like CNN and MSNBC gave the attorney a platform — and likely millions in free publicity — as he represented adult entertainer Stormy Daniels in her cases against President Donald Trump.

Avenatti is also facing charges in California, as authorities allege he embezzled clients’ funds to defray personal expenses and present phony tax documents to a bank.

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