fresh YORK (AP) — Michael Avenatti, a lawyer who gained fame by representing a porn star in lawsuits against President Donald Trump, was convicted Friday of trying to extort sportswear giant Nike.
The verdict was returned Friday by a Manhattan federal jury after the idea deliberated charges of attempted extortion along with honest services fraud in what prosecutors say was an attempt by Avenatti to extort up to $25 million coming from Nike with threats to otherwise harm the idea. The charges carry a combined potential penalty of 42 years in prison.
Avenatti, 48, became prominent during frequent cable television program appearances in 2018 along with 2019 as journalists courted him for information about porn star Stormy Daniels along with her claims of a Trump tryst before he became president along that has a payoff to remain silent about the idea. At his peak of notoriety, Avenatti even considered running for president himself.
however a steep fall coming from power-broker status was swift when Avenatti was arrested as he was about to meet Nike lawyers last March to press his demands for millions of dollars to conduct an internal probe of the Beaverton, Oregon-based shoemaker.
Avenatti maintained he was taking the aggressive position at the urging of his client, Gary Franklin, who ran a youth basketball league in Los Angeles along with was angry of which Nike ended a decade-long sponsorship of which provided $72,000 annually along with free gear. He sought $1.5 million for Franklin, as well.
Franklin testified of which two Nike executives forced him to pay money to the mother of an elite high school basketball player’s mother along with to pass along payments to the handlers of different players while doctoring paperwork to hide the purpose of the funds.
Avenatti did not testify, however his lawyers said he was following the wishes of Franklin along with an entertainment executive who advised him to be aggressive to force Nike to fire corrupt executives along with fix its culture.
Besides the extortion trial, Avenatti also faces an April trial in fresh York on charges of which he defrauded Daniels of book proceeds along that has a May trial in Los Angeles on charges of which he defrauded clients along with others of millions of dollars.
He remains held without bail. Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles succeeded last month in getting him locked up after saying he violated his $300,000 bail by moving money around illegally after his arrest.