On Friday, disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti was convicted of all three charges related to his attempts to extort up to $25 million from the sports gear giant Nike.
A Manhattan U.S. District Court jury handed down this decision two years after Avenatti gained national fame and notoriety for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal disputes with President Donald Trump.
48-year-old Avenatti still faces two other pending federal criminal cases concerning alleged thefts from clients, including Daniels.
BREAKING: Attorney Michael Avenatti Found Guilty Of Trying To Extort Nike https://t.co/WniFdfgvz0
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 14, 2020
Botched Nike Shakedown
The lawyer was accused of trying to shake down Nike by threatening to go public with alleged evidence that the company had bribed amateur basketball players and their families unless Nike paid him millions of dollars. Avenatti also claimed to represent amateur basketball coach Gary Franklin, who in his testimony, said he was not aware of his these shakedown tactics.
Prosecutors argued that Avenatti’s actions were due to owing monstrous debt of more than $11 million.
“I’m not f—ing around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games,” Avenatti said to Nike’s lawyers last year, right before he was arrested. “You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem. And it’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing. A few million dollars doesn’t move the needle for me.”
Jurors began deliberating Avenatti’s case on Wednesday, after almost three weeks of testimony, evidence and proceedings.