Media

MSNBC's Velshi on Avenatti arrest: 'My head is officially going to explode'

MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi said his "head is officially going to explode" upon receiving the breaking news that Michael Avenatti, the Trump critic and former attorney for Stormy Daniels, had been arrested on federal charges of bank fraud and extortion.

Avenatti was arrested in New York, according to multiple reports, on separate charges related to an alleged effort to shakedown Nike for money.

"My head is officially going to explode," Velshi said to NBC News Investigations reporter Tom Winter during an MSNBC newscast. "I don't understand what this is about." 

Winter went on to share a document containing a transcript of a recording obtained by prosecutors where Avenatti allegedly threatens to harm Nike unless it paid him $10 million. 

"A few million dollars doesn't move the needle for me. I'm just being really frank with you," charging documents from the Southern District of New York quote Avenatti as saying. "So if that's what, if that's what's being contemplated, then let's just say it was good to meet you, and we're done. And I'll proceed with my press conference tomorrow."

Prosecutors in Los Angeles allege that Avenatti had embezzled a client's money and reallocated it to pay his own debts and expenses, as well as expenses from a coffee business and law firm.

"A lawyer has a basic duty not to steal from his client," said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna in the California case. "Mr. Avenatti is facing serious criminal charges alleging he misappropriated client trust funds for his personal use and he defrauded a bank by submitting phony tax returns in order to obtain millions of dollars in loans."

Avenatti often appeared on cable news networks CNN and MSNBC last year, appearing more than 200 times on each of those networks in 2018. 

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