Attorney Michael Avenatti spoke out in his first television interview following his Monday morning arrest, admitting he’s worried about what’s next as he faces federal charges that could land him in prison.
“I am nervous, I’m concerned, I’m scared, I feel terrible for my family, I feel bad for my friends,” he told CBS News in an interview airing Tuesday and Wednesday.
Avenatti, who entered the spotlight when he represented porn actress Stormy Daniels in her legal fight against President Donald Trump, was apprehended by federal prosecutors in New York on Monday and accused of attempting to extort Nike. He allegedly threatened the company with damaging information in an effort to obtain millions of dollars.
In California, he faces another set of federal wire fraud and bank fraud charges alleging he faked tax returns. He is also accused of embezzling a client’s money to pay off his personal debts and business expenses.
“Most people are sticking by me, they believe in me, they know what I’m all about, so I’ve been very fortunate in that regard,” Avenatti said after being released Monday night on $300,000 bond. “But sure, I’m nervous. I’m scared. I’m all those things, and if I wasn’t, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense.”
Shortly before his arrest, the lawyer teased on Twitter that he was about to hold a news conference to reveal Nike’s perpetration of “a major high school/college basketball scandal,” which he claimed included “some of the biggest names in college basketball.”
Though the details surrounding Avenatti’s allegations against Nike remain unclear, he was still bashing the sporting goods company on social media Tuesday, accusing it of a “crime & coverup” while maintaining his innocence.
“I am anxious for people to see what really happened,” he said.
In a statement hours after Avenatti’s arrest, Daniels, who is no longer his client, said she was “saddened but not shocked” to hear the news, noting that “he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly and there will be more announcements to come.” Daniels claims that she had an extramarital affair in 2006 with Trump, who reportedly paid her during the 2016 presidential campaign to remain quiet about it. Avenatti had represented her in her fight over the nondisclosure agreement after Trump took office.