Crime Lawyer Michael Avenatti convicted of trying to extort Nike

21:50  14 february  2020
21:50  14 february  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti found guilty in Nike extortion trial

  Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti found guilty in Nike extortion trial Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti was convicted Friday by a jury of all three charges related to his efforts to extort up to $25 million from athletic apparel giant Nike. The verdict in U.S. District Court in Manhattan came two years after Avenatti gained widespread notoriety for his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal disputes with President Donald Trump. Avenatti was accused in the Nike case of trying to shake down the company by threatening to expose alleged evidence of bribing amateur basketball players and their families unless the company paid up.

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

Michael Avenatti wearing a suit and tie: FILE PHOTO: Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives at United States Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City© Reuters/Mike Segar FILE PHOTO: Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives at United States Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City

The brash lawyer was all but unknown until two years ago when he began representing the adult film actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against U.S. President Donald Trump and making hundreds of television appearances.

Avenatti's sentencing was scheduled for June 17. He could face more than 40 years in prison.

Avenatti Guilty in Extortion Case

  Avenatti Guilty in Extortion Case Michael Avenatti, the brash, camera-ready lawyer for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, was convicted on charges that he tried to extort more than $20 million from Nike by threatening to expose damaging information about the company. © New York Post Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives at United States Court in the Manhattan. The verdict marks a victory for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which brought the case last year following a swift investigation. The federal prosecutors were aided by Nike’s lawyers, who recorded their conversations with Mr. Avenatti. The jury convicted Mr.

Jurors deliberated for 2-1/2 days in deciding whether Avenatti tried to shake down Nike by threatening to publicize allegations the sports apparel company made illegal payments to families of college basketball recruits. Nike has denied wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said Avenatti, 48, threatened Nike with a press conference to publicize the payments and take several billion of dollars off its market value, unless it paid him and another lawyer up to $25 million to conduct an internal probe, and paid the coach $1.5 million.

Avenatti, who prosecutors said wanted a big payday to help cover at least $11 million of debts, was also charged with defrauding his client Gary Franklin by not telling him he was demanding a probe before agreeing to settle.

Amateur basketball league founder says Avenatti betrayed him

  Amateur basketball league founder says Avenatti betrayed him A Los Angeles amateur basketball league's founder told jurors Thursday that Michael Avenatti betrayed him when the lawyer threatened to make his complaints against Nike public. Avenatti is standing trial in New York on charges that he tried to extort millions of dollars from the sportswear giant as he represented Gary Franklin, founder of the California Supreme league.

Franklin testified he did not want a probe or press conference, preferring a quiet settlement.

He acknowledged having hired Avenatti after seeing him rise to prominence while representing Daniels.

Avenatti's lawyers argued their client had acted in good faith and did exactly what Franklin wanted in demanding a probe and threatening publicity that could expose Nike's alleged corruption, and harm its reputation and stock price.

Avenatti also faces scheduled trials this spring in Manhattan for allegedly defrauding Daniels out of proceeds from a book contract, and in California for allegedly defrauding several other clients and lying to the Internal Revenue Service.

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

The defendant has been jailed in Manhattan since Jan. 17, after California prosecutors said he violated bail conditions.

William Barr's actions spark unease among US prosecutors .
The situation has reverberated across the country in the past few days, with prosecutors incensed over the apparent intervention by Attorney General Bill Barr to lighten the sentencing recommendation for Trump's ally, along with fear of what some perceive as a growing political directive coming from Washington. On the West Coast, one federal prosecutor said there was an overwhelming sense of "outrage" felt in his office. A prosecutor on the East Coast voiced concern about the potential impact of political interference on juries and judges, who could perceive that cases aren't being brought objectively.

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