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Michael Avenatti
In this image from video, Michael Avenatti, attorney and spokesperson for adult film star Stormy Daniels, listens to a reporters' question during an interview at The Associated Press, Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in New York. Avenatti is seeking to depose the president and his attorney. Avenatti filed the motion in federal court in California. In the documents he seeks to depose President Donald Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen about a $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election. (AP Photo/Joe Frederick)

Federal prosecutors charge attorney Michael Avenatti with extortion, bank and wire fraud

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WASHINGTON (CIRCA and AP) — U.S. prosecutors on two coasts have charged President Donald Trump critic and attorney Michael Avenatti with extortion and bank and wire fraud.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York charged Avenatti, and he was placed under arrest Monday in New York, according to a spokesman for the U.S attorney in Los Angeles.

Spokesman Ciaran McEvoy says the lawyer best known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump faces federal charges in New York and California.

In the New York case, he was accused of threatening to use his ability to get publicity to harm the sports apparel giant Nike.

In the California case, Avenatti was accused of embezzling a client's money to pay his own expenses and debts — as well as those of his coffee business and law firm. The U.S. attorney's office also said he defrauded a bank by using phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans.

The office of the federal prosecutors spoke to the press at 2:30 p.m. on Monday. In a tweet, the office said the charges involve Avenatti attempting to extract more than $20 million in payments from Nike. He is accused of threatening to garner publicity to inflict financial and reputational harm if his demands were not met.

The lawyer is a known critic of Trump and has gained notoriety for his work in high-profile cases this year. He previously served as the attorney for Daniels as well as the attorney for the parents of one of R. Kelly's girlfriends.

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