High-profile lawyer Michael Avenatti's arrest on charges of attempted extortion comes just about a month after he boasted on Twitter that he had given prosecutors "smoking gun" evidence against embattled singer R. Kelly.
Avenatti was taken into custody by the FBI in midtown Manhattan Monday, accused of allegedly threatening to release damaging information about Nike if it did not meet his demands.
Just last month, Avenatti said his office was retained by multiple people in relation to the sexual abuse allegations against Kelly, whose real name is Robert. He added that in his investigations into their claims, his office uncovered a new tape that allegedly shows Kelly engaging in sexual acts with a young girl. Avenatti said he gave the video and other "extensive information" to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago.
Avenatti's addition to the case against Kelly was arguably an instrumental development. But could his latest legal battles hurt his chances of seeking justice for his clients?
Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg said he will use Avenatti's arrest to challenge the authenticity of the alleged tape.
"There's always been serious questions as to how he got the tape," Greenberg told Inside Edition. "This just amplifies those questions."
"For the entirety of my career I have fought against the powerful — powerful people and powerful corporations. I will never stop fighting
that good fight," Avenatti, who maintains his innocence, told reporters after his arrest.
Kelly has denied all accusations of sexual misconduct and has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.