world

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti found guilty in Nike extortion case

11 Comments
By Jonathan Stempel

A U.S. jury on Friday found Michael Avenatti guilty in a criminal trial accusing the celebrity lawyer of trying to extort Nike Inc out of millions of dollars and defraud a youth basketball coach he represented.

Jurors in Manhattan federal court needed 2-1/2 days to decide the fate of Avenatti, a brash lawyer all but unknown until two years ago when he began representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against U.S. President Donald Trump and making hundreds of television appearances.

Avenatti, 48, who positioned his chair so he could face the jurors during his 2-1/2-week trial, stared at them as the verdict was read. He could get more than 40 years in prison at his scheduled June 17 sentencing.

"Of course there will be an appeal, yes," Avenatti's lawyer Scott Srebnick told reporters after the verdict.

Avenatti also faces scheduled criminal trials this spring in Manhattan on charges he defrauded Daniels out of proceeds from a book contract, and in California on charges he defrauded several other clients and lied to the Internal Revenue Service.

He has been jailed in Manhattan since Jan. 17 after California prosecutors said he violated his bail conditions.

Avenatti shook hands with and got a pat on the back from members of his legal team following Friday's verdict, before a court officer led him away.

The defendant was convicted of trying to shake down Nike by threatening to hold a press conference to discuss allegations the sports apparel company made illegal payments to families of college basketball recruits.

Prosecutors said Avenatti told Nike he could wipe billions of dollars off its market value, but would keep quiet if it paid him and another lawyer up to $25 million to conduct an internal probe, and paid the coach Gary Franklin $1.5 million.

Avenatti was also convicted of defrauding Franklin by not telling him he was demanding a probe before agreeing to settle.

Prosecutors said Avenatti wanted a big payday to cover at least $11 million of his own debts.

Avenatti's trial included multiple recordings of his negotiations with Nike's lawyers. Franklin testified for prosecutors that he did not want a probe or press conference.

"The jury clearly saw the defendant's scheme for what it was - an old fashioned shakedown," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.

Nike has denied wrongdoing.

Lawyers for Avenatti argued their client had acted in good faith and did exactly what Franklin wanted.

Avenatti did not testify, after his trial judge said prosecutors could question him about his dealings with other clients, without mentioning the criminal charges.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
Login to comment

Another NeverTrumper exposed as a fraud and a criminal.

Two years ago, he was a hero for Libs and Dems.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Another NeverTrumper exposed as a fraud and a criminal.

Shall we compare that to the number of Trumpophiles who have been exposed as frauds and criminals?

Two years ago, he was a hero for Libs and Dems.

Two years ago, John Kelly, Mattis, et al. we’re considered heroes for Trumpophiles.

See the situation you people have created by having zero integrity? Anyone can turn your arguments right back on you, and they fit nicely.

What is the political situation like in your home country? Are there actual elections? Do you have real freedom of speech?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Another worm that's crawled out of the ooze during the slimy Trump era. And the worms keep crawling out. But that's to be expected when the don and his corrupt family and syndicate control the White House.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Two years ago, John Kelly, Mattis, et al. we’re considered heroes for Trumpophiles.

They are heroes, but if they’re not onboard with the Presidents agenda, they have every right to leave or the President can ask them to leave.

See the situation you people have created by having zero integrity?

Yeah, look at the Dems, see what zero integrity can lead to? Losing everything, that’s 5 times for the Dems, everything they have worked at to get rid of this President over the last 3 years failed.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Two years ago, John Kelly, Mattis, et al. were considered heroes for Trumpophiles.

@bas4ff They are heroes,

Glad to see you're seeing both sides instead of just pigeon-holing. Or is your point that Kelly can be both a 'hero' and as your posted on the 14th a 'loser'.

Feb. 14  03:35 pm JSTPosted in: Trump slams former White House chief of staff Kelly for defending key impeachment witness  See in context

Trump should let Kelly ramble on, the man is a loser.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Glad to see you're seeing both sides instead of just pigeon-holing. Or is your point that Kelly can be both a 'hero' and as your posted on the 14th a 'loser'.

Exactly!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

He's gonna have to put his presidential aspirations on hold for awhile :D

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

dont worry he can still vote from jail if Dems have their way.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Wow liberals totally ignoring their boy Avenatti. That’s not nice considering what he did for you guys

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Wow liberals totally ignoring their boy Avenatti. That’s not nice considering what he did for you guys.

If this thread were about Rudy, the thread would already have 100 comments by now. Lol

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Anyways, if he did the crime, he can do the time. It was a jury, so I'm going to trust they made the right decision based on the facts presented to them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites