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Michael Avenatti. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Federal prosecutors in New York announced Monday that they will charge lawyer Michael Avenatti, who gained notoriety for his representation of Stormy Daniels and a discredited Brett Kavanaugh accuser, with an attempt to extort $20 million from Nike. He is also being charged with wire and bank fraud by prosecutors in California.

The big picture: Avenatti tweeted just before the charges were announced, saying he would hold a press conference Tuesday "to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered." He was arraigned in New York on Monday evening and released on a $300,000 bond. He will be arraigned in his second case in Los Angeles on April 1.

  • The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Avenatti's alleged co-conspirator in the extortion scheme is celebrity attorney and CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos, who has represented Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Jussie Smollett and other high profile figures.

What they're saying: Avenatti said outside court he was "highly confident" he would be fully exonerated and justice would be done.

  • Stormy Daniels, the ex-Avenatti client who first brought the celebrity attorney into the national spotlight, released a statement Monday responding to the charges:
"Knowing what I know now about Michael Avenatti, I am saddened but not shocked by news reports that he has been criminally charged today. 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. I ask that the media respect my decision to withhold further public comment regarding Mr. Avenatti at this time."

Go deeper: Read both sets of charges against Avenatti

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy is here to stay

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - World

Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.