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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

Updated 44 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.