Former Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti has been released on $300,000 bail just hours after he was charged with attempting to extort $25million from Nike.
Avenatti was hit with the extortion charge in court papers filed earlier on Monday by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
Those charges are the result of Avenatti's alleged attempt to receive millions in payments from Nike based on damning information obtained by his client, a college basketball coach.
A second defendant is listed as a cooperating witness and not identified in the filings, though it is stated that he is a male and a lawyer who represents high profile clients.
A source who spoke with DailyMail.com said that the lawyer is Mark Geragos, who has had a long career representing high-profile clients including Michael Jackson, Colin Kaepernick and Jussie Smollett.
Now Geragos might need a defense attorney himself after being named in the case.
Geragos has yet to be charged with any crime but two people familiar with the investigation confirmed Monday that he is the unidentified co-conspirator in court papers charging Avenatti with attempting to shake down Nike for $25million by threatening the company with bad publicity.
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Michael Avenatti (pictured Monday night) said he's 'highly confident' that he will be fully exonerated for allegedly trying to extort $25million from Nike to keep quiet about the 'college basketball scam'
A second defendant is listed as a cooperating witness and not identified in the filings. A source who spoke with DailyMail.com said that the lawyer is Mark Geragos (pictured), who has had a long career representing high-profile clients including Colin Kaepernick and Jussie Smollett
Geragos (pictured in 2014, representing Chris Brown) has yet to be charged with any crime but two people familiar with the investigation confirmed Monday that he is the unidentified co-conspirator in court papers charging Avenatti with attempting to shake down Nike for $25M
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not made public by prosecutors.
Geragos, 61, didn't respond to requests for comment.
For decades the media savvy attorney has defended headline-grabbing cases involving troubled Hollywood stars like Winona Ryder and Chris Brown and wife killer Scott Peterson.
A longtime CNN contributor, Geragos appeared on the network this month to discuss the case against his client Smollett, the Empire actor accused of fabricating a racist, anti-gay attack in Chicago.
Within hours of the extortion case breaking, CNN cut ties with him.
CNN did announced on Monday that he was no longer a commentator for the network.
Shortly after his release Monday night, Avenatti told reporters that he's 'highly confident' that he will be fully exonerated for allegedly trying to extort $25million from Nike.
'As all of you know for the entirety of my career I have fought against the powerful. Powerful people and powerful corporations. I will never stop fighting that good fight,' Avenatti said.
'I am highly confident that when all of the evidence is laid bare in connection with these cases, when it is all known, when due process occurs that I will be fully exonerated and justice will be done,' Avenatti added.
'As all of you know for the entirety of my career I have fought against the powerful. Powerful people and powerful corporations. I will never stop fighting that good fight,' Avenatti told reporters in New York during a press conference Monday night
Avenatti was released on $300,000 bail Monday night after being hit with the charges earlier in the day
Avenatti was charged with extortion earlier on Monday by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. He's seen in court sketch on Monday
The charges against Avenatti were announced shortly after he tweeted: 'Tmrw at 11 am ET, we will be holding a press conference to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered. This criminal conduct reaches the highest levels of Nike and involves some of the biggest names in college basketball.'
A source who has been briefed on the situation told DailyMail.com that federal agents were expecting that tweet, and took Avenatti into custody within minutes of him posting on the social media platform.
That tweet was shared just a few days after Avenatti spoke with Nike's attorney, and declared what would happen if his demands were not met, according to the complaint.
'I'll go take ten billion dollars off your client's market cap,' Avenatti allegedly said during the call.
He later noted: 'I'm not f***ing around.'
That is not the only case filed against Avenatti either, with a second case accusing the lawyer of bank and wire fraud was also filed on Monday in the Central District of California.
He is facing 50 years in prison for allegedly lying about a settlement amount top s client and defrauding a bank.
Speaking out: A complaint was filed on Monday by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York shortly after Avenatti tweeted about the company (above)
That tweet was shared just a few days after Avenatti spoke with Nike's (file image) attorney, and declared what would happen if his demands were not met, according to the complaint
DELIGHTED DON JR
Avenatti, who represented President Trump's former paramour Daniels in her lawsuit against the real estate scion, had previously tweeted that he knew Don Jr would be indicted as a result of a federal investigation.
#MAGA - Michael Avenatti Getting Arrested!!!; Good news for my friend @MichaelAvenatti, if you plead fast enough, you might just get to share a cell with Michael Cohen!; Karmas a b***h huh. #basta
- Don Trump Jr tweeted at Avenatti
'Donald Trump Jr. will be indicted before his birthday on 12-31-18. If you doubt my prediction, please check my record over the last 7 months. #Winning,' wrote Avenatti last year.
Don Jr wasted no time in responding to the news of Avenatti's legal woes on Monday by retweeting the lawyer's post from last year and stating: 'How'd that work out for you buddy? #basta.'
He also tossed out a few other tweets, including: '#MAGA - Michael Avenatti Getting Arrested!!!'; 'Good news for my friend @MichaelAvenatti, if you plead fast enough, you might just get to share a cell with Michael Cohen!'; 'Karmas a b***h huh. #basta.'
His former client also showed little love for the lawyer on Monday.
'I made the decision more than a month ago to terminate Michael's services after discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly and there will be more announcements to come,' said Daniels.
'I ask that the media respect my decision to withhold further public comment regarding Mr. Avenatti at this time.'
LAWYER FOR JUSSIE SMOLLETT AND COLIN KAEPERNICK'S INVOLVEMENT
The events that led to Avenatti's arrest all played out over the past week.
Avenatti allegedly told the attorneys for Nike that he would release damaging information about the company unless they agreed to make multimillion-dollar payments to himself and a second defendant.
A source claims his co-conspirator is Geragos. Last year, Geragos helped negotiate a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal between Nike and Kaepernick, the former NFL player known for inspiring other players to protest police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues.
In announcing the agreement on Twitter, Geragos called Kaepernick an 'All American Icon'.
Geragos' website bio describes him as 'the only lawyer besides Johnnie Cochran ever named "Lawyer of the Year" in both Criminal and Civil arenas'.
He was admitted to the bar in 1983 and made his name in the 1990s when he got an acquittal in an embezzlement case against Susan McDougal, who was previously convicted in the Whitewater scandal involving President Bill Clinton.
A few years later he represented Clinton's brother, Roger Clinton, in a drunken-driving case.
He got probation for Winona Ryder after the actress was convicted by a jury in a felony grand theft case, and for Chris Brown, the singer who pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna.
I’m not f***ing around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games,' declared Avenatti according to court documents ... you guys know enough to know you’ve got a serious problem, and it’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing. I’m just being really frank with you.
- Avenatti to Nike lawyers
Perhaps most prominently, Geragos represented Michael Jackson after the pop superstar was accused of child molestation.
Jackson ultimately replaced Geragos, saying he wanted a lawyer who would devote his full time to the case.
Geragos was simultaneously representing Scott Peterson, a California fertilizer salesman who was eventually found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife.
He later represented Jackson in a separate case and settled a lawsuit for $2.5million against the owner of a charter jet company that secretly recorded the singer while he flew on a private plane.
A Los Angeles native with Armenian roots, he's been a champion of efforts to have the 1915 Armenian Genocide recognized at the national level.
It's unclear what his connection is with Avenatti, the bellicose attorney best known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump.
But it was Geragos who first reached out to Nike and the company's lawyers back on March 13.
Two days later he spoke with an attorney for the company and stated that he and Avenatti had information they wished to share with Nike's legal team in person.
The two men then approached Nike on behalf of