The Los Angeles Times reported today that Hassan Whiteside is involved in the legal troubles of Michael Avenatti, the former lawyer for adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels.
Alexis Gardner, Whiteside’s former girlfriend, hired Avenatti to negotiate a settlement of a potential lawsuit against the Heat center in 2017. The nature of Gardner’s allegation is unknown. Avenatti struck a $3 million deal, and Whiteside wired $2.75 million as a first payment.
Prosecutors allege that Avenatti hid this payment from Gardner and used the money to buy a share of a private jet.
NBA player Hassan Whiteside wired $2.75 million to Michael Avenatti to settle a case with his ex-girlfriend, an Avenatti client. Prosecutors say the L.A. lawyer stole most of the money to buy a share of a private jet. Here’s the full story. https://t.co/5GjmbRXcPt— Michael Finnegan (@finneganLAT) April 21, 2019
Whiteside and Gardner released a joint statement:
“We entered into a mutually agreed upon settlement more than two years ago following the end of our relationship; a settlement that reflected Alexis’ investment of time and support over a number of years as Hassan pursued a career in the NBA,” Whiteside and Gardner told the Los Angeles Times in a statement released by his agent.
“It is unfortunate that something that was meant to be kept private between us is now being publicly reported. We have both moved on amicably and wish nothing but the best for each other.”
Whiteside is entering the final year of a four-year, $98 million contract he signed in 2016; next year is a player option for him.
Avenatti responded to the allegations on Twitter.
I look forward to ALL of the details coming out regarding Hassan Whiteside’s settlement, the money received by the client, the money deducted for fees and costs, etc. and the reason why he paid the money. I especially look forward to the inquiry by the @NBA and its commissioner.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 21, 2019