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Michael Avenatti Tweets Alleged Docs of Nike Payments to Deandre Ayton's Mother

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2019

Attorney Michael Avenatti speaks to the press after leaving the federal court house in Manhattan on March 25, 2019 in New York City. - Michael Avenatti, who shot to fame as the lawyer of adult film star Stormy Daniels, was arrested on March 25, 2019, on charges of trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike and for embezzling from a client. The celebrity attorney, who represented Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, was arrested in New York based on separate complaints filed in that city as well as Los Angeles. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
JOHANNES EISELE/Getty Images

Attorney Michael Avenatti accused Nike earlier this week of providing cash payments to the mother of Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and the handlers of Oregon freshman Bol Bol. On Wednesday, he posted pictures of documents that he claims proves the alleged misconduct.

Avenatti took to Twitter to back up his claim:

Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti

These, among other documents, are now in the hands of prosecutors. These particular examples relate to $10k in cash funneled from Nike to Deandre Ayton’s mother. Nike had cash hand delivered to avoid discovery by law enforcement and the NCAA. #Receipts https://t.co/ptVfzRYdqx

This comes one day after he levied serious accusations against Nike:

Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti

Ask DeAndre Ayton and Nike about the cash payments to his mother and others. Nike’s attempt at diversion and cover-up will fail miserably once prosecutors realize they have been played by Nike and their lawyers at Boies. This reaches the highest levels of Nike.

Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti

Bol Bol and his handlers also received large sums from Nike. The receipts are clear as day. A lot of people at Nike will have to account for their criminal conduct, starting with Carlton DeBose & moving higher up. The diversion charade they orchestrated against me will be exposed

Avenatti appeared in court Monday after allegedly trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike "by threatening to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met," according to ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach.

Per Schlabach, Avenatti and an unidentified co-conspirator were seeking a minimum of $15 million to $25 million from Nike for an internal investigation they would conduct.

He was released on $300,000 bond.

"For the entirety of my career, I have fought against the powerful: powerful people and powerful corporations," Avenatti told reporters Monday, per Schlabach. "I will never stop fighting that good fight. 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."

The 48-year-old attorney later defended himself on Twitter:

Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti

I want to thank all of my supporters for your kind words and support today. It means a lot to me. I am anxious for people to see what really happened. We never attempted to extort Nike & when the evidence is disclosed, the public will learn the truth about Nike’s crime & coverup.

In February 2018, Schlabach reported an FBI wiretap caught Arizona head coach Sean Miller discussing a $100,000 payment to ensure Ayton signed with the Wildcats.

Ayton's family denied that report.

"Deandre directly stated to the FBI, more than six months ago, that he never discussed or solicited payments from the University of Arizona, or any other university, or any shoe company or anyone on behalf of either—period," the Ayton family said in a statement, per Anne Ryman of the Arizona Republic. "This includes basketball and anything else."

Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann also cited a source in March 2018 who said the details of the call in the ESPN report were inaccurate.

Ayton went on to play in all 35 of Arizona's games during his one-and-done career in Tucson. The Phoenix Suns selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft this past June.

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