You can't read the news without seeing the name Michael Avenatti these days. The high-powered attorney shot to prominence last year while representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, claiming that she was paid hush money to keep quiet about their alleged affair (the case was dismissed by a federal judge earlier this month).
Now Avenatti is grabbing headlines for his own legal trouble after getting arrested on Monday, March 25 in New York City and charged for allegedly trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike, according to NBC News. He was released on $300,000 bond. Federal prosecutors in California also charged Avenatti in a separate case with embezzling a client's money to pay expenses for his company, Global Barista US LLC, court papers say, as reported by NBC News.
After this news hit, none other than Kelly Dodd revealed that she has a surprising connection to Avenatti — she said that the two were once romantically involved. "I can’t believe I dated @MichaelAvenatti," Kelly tweeted on March 25, along with a photo of herself with Avenatti. "I dodged a bullet on that one."
Kelly went on to say that she and Avenatti dated for about four months last year. She tweeted that she "broke up with him last year the day before Valentines."
Avenatti was also previously married twice before to Christine Avenatti Carlin and Lisa Storie-Avenatti, who filed for divorce in 2017, according to PEOPLE.
As for his current legal battle, Avenatti told reporters on March 25 that he expects to be "fully exonerated," according to NBC News. "For the entirety of my career I have fought against the powerful — powerful people and powerful corporations," Avenatti said. "I will never stop fighting that good fight."
In a statement obtained by CNN, Nike said it would "not be extorted or hide information that is relevant to a government investigation."
"When Nike became aware of this matter, Nike immediately reported it to federal prosecutors," the statement said. "When Mr. Avenatti attempted to extort Nike over this matter, Nike with the assistance of outside counsel at Boies Schiller Flexner, aided the investigation."