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Sport Michael Avenatti's trial could expose Nike, college hoops even further — if court grants his subpoenas

03:25  04 january  2020
03:25  04 january  2020 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

Avenatti Was $15M In Debt When He Tried To Extort Nike, Prosecutors Say

  Avenatti Was $15M In Debt When He Tried To Extort Nike, Prosecutors Say Last week, the California State Bar said it wants Avenatti placed on involuntary inactive status because they say he poses a threat to clients and the public if he continues doing legal work.Both sides made the assertions in court papers filed late Tuesday in advance of a Jan. 22 criminal trial in Manhattan, giving U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe time to decide what the jury will be allowed to hear and see.

Yahoo Sports. Michael Avenatti ' s trial could expose Nike , college hoops even further — if court grants his subpoenas . Read full article. Dan Wetzel. Legally, Nike is arguing that since none of the men subpoenaed had ever spoken to Avenatti , they have no direct knowledge of his crimes and thus shouldn’t have to testify. They are accusing Avenatti of trying to run a shadow trial concerning Nike ’s conduct. Avenatti is countering that proving Nike was engaged in the same nefarious conduct as Adidas assists his defense that he was offering to run a real internal investigation for the company

Avenatti is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 21 in the Southern District of New York. He is charged with trying to “shake down” Nike by threatening to reveal its grassroots basketball department had allegedly funneled money to top high school prospects and their families/handlers. This is a manner similar to Rather than extorting Nike , Avenatti contends he was negotiating a settlement for his then-client and offering to conduct an extensive independent investigation into the conduct of the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) for Nike . Avenatti , in a quest to show as much potential criminal behavior as possible

For college basketball, the federal fraud trials involving basketball middleman Christian Dawkins, as well as Adidas executives Jim Gatto and Merl Code, brought plenty of sensational testimony but little else.

Michael Avenatti wearing a suit and tie walking down the street: Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., on Oct. 8, 2019. (Reuters)© Provided by Yahoo! Sports Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., on Oct. 8, 2019. (Reuters)

The government’s decision to limit both direct evidence and the scope of two trials resulted in convictions for the defendants (still under appeal) and some NCAA infractions cases (and more to come). But there’s been little other tangible impact on the game.

With Michael Avenatti trial looming, new Nike documents prompt questions

  With Michael Avenatti trial looming, new Nike documents prompt questions With Michael Avenatti trial looming, new Nike documents prompt questionsThe motion opened a compelling window into the underbelly of grassroots basketball. Memorably, one Nike employee expressed concern about carrying so much cash through an airport and texted that she'd “just say I sold my car,” if she were questioned by airport security.

Avenatti is pleading not guilty to three criminal accounts in the trial , which began this week with jury selection in Manhattan. He accused Nike officials of making illicit payments to elite youth basketball players on Nike 's basketball circuit and of concealing those payments. He claims he has evidence of According to Bloomberg , the news surfaced Wednesday in court when Howard Srebnick, Avenatti ' s defense attorney, disclosed that the SEC is investigating Nike and taking over evidence previously gathered from the Justice Department. College basketball has been marred with controversy in recent

Michael Avenatti has been charged with attempting to extort up to million from Nike by threatening to release 'damaging information' about the company. He allegedly demanded the eight-figure sum as payment to conduct his own internal probe on the sportswear giant. On Thursday, Avenatti ' s lawyer asked for a delay in the extortion trial , which is scheduled to begin on November 12. His legal team say they hope to subpoena Nike employees to prove that he was not acting unlawfully. The extortion case is one of several legal problems currently plaguing the outspoken attorney who once represented

Talk to those involved in the process of recruiting high-end athletes and it’s essentially been business as usual. Except, perhaps, college coaches moving from text message to the more protected Signal app. Whatever the feds were once trying to accomplish fell mostly flat.

Now comes the trial of famed lawyer Michael Avenatti, who has been charged by the Southern District of New York with trying to extort Nike over alleged similar behavior to that which got Adidas in trouble.

Avenatti contends he was just representing a whistleblower, a former Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) coach who knew plenty of dirt about Nike’s conduct. Avenatti alleges he was just offering to run an independent investigation for Nike.

Across the basketball world the most commonly asked question since the FBI got involved in busting up the recruiting world is how Adidas, but not industry leader Nike, got in trouble. After all Adidas, everyone says, wasn’t bidding against itself for players. So where’s Nike?

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A judge rejected Michael Avenatti ' s bid to dismiss a charge he defrauded a client who he said knew about improper payments Nike allegedly made to recruits. 21 trial over his dealings with Nike , and two criminal trials this spring on unrelated charges. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Prosecutors accused Avenatti of telling Nike last March he would not publicize his client Gary Franklin's claims about the payments if the sportswear company would pay Franklin .5 million, and him up to million to conduct an internal probe.

A lawyer for firebrand attorney Michael Avenatti said Thursday that he plans to subpoena Nike ahead of his client’ s upcoming extortion trial — but balked when asked if his sights were also set on the company-linked pro athletes. “I’m going to issue a subpoena to Nike ,” Avenatti lawyer Scott Srebnick told Manhattan federal court Judge Paul Gardephe on Thursday, adding he was looking for information regarding an alleged pay-to-play scheme targeting elite high school basketball players. “It could be Nike employees, it could be others,” he continued, refusing to say whether any pro ball players would

Perhaps now we find out. Or perhaps not.

The trial is set to begin Jan. 21 in Lower Manhattan, and Avenatti, according to court documents, has subpoenaed a number of Nike EYBL executives to testify. Nike has moved to block it. Whoever wins that pretrial argument will determine a great deal about how much the court, the public and the NCAA itself learns about the dealings of the sport.

“Mr. Avenatti would like to elicit the Nike Employees’ testimony to try to establish that Nike engaged in criminal conduct, and that Nike hid this criminal conduct from the Government while claiming to be cooperating,” Nike’s attorneys stated in their Motion to Quash the subpoena, which was filed Thursday. “This narrative — which paints Nike as the villain and Mr. Avenatti as the hero — is false and illogical.”

In addition to two Nike attorneys, Avenatti is seeking at least five Nike employees to take the stand — John Slusher, Lynn Merritt, Nico Harrison, Carlton DeBose and Jamal James. While those names mean little to nothing for fans who fill out a March Madness bracket, they represent the most powerful people at Nike Basketball, all the way down to overseeing travel and high school teams as well as camps and tournaments for top talent.

Michael Avenatti arrested at courthouse during hearing

  Michael Avenatti arrested at courthouse during hearing Michael Avenatti shot to fame representing Stormy Daniels.Avenatti was on the stand when the court took a break and IRS agents placed him under arrest. Multiple sources told ABC News that Avenatti is accused of violating the terms of his pre-trial release. It was not immediately clear what he allegedly did to violate those terms because the documents are under seal.

Avenatti subpoenaed about a half-dozen other Nike employees who he claims were involved in the corruption of college basketball. Gardephe denied Nike ’s request to block the subpoenas outright, saying the employees had to make their requests individually. “This scenario threatens to turn the trial into a circus sideshow by converting it into a trial of Mr. DeBose’s and Nike ’s conduct -- an outcome the defendant clearly desires,” DeBose’s lawyer said. Nike , which has been cooperating with a federal probe into corruption of college basketball since 2017, viewed Avenatti ’ s demand as improper and

Michael Avenatti ' s trial could expose Nike , college hoops even further — if court grants his A motion filed in federal court Wednesday on behalf of lawyer Michael Avenatti alleges corruption

If Avenatti succeeds and they take the stand, then the testimony and stories that are told could be considerable for the sport. They represent, collectively, a dialed-in group that doesn’t just understand how basketball players are recruited to college, but perhaps even the specifics of individual deals involving individual schools.

While the Adidas trials dragged down a number of high-profile teams (namely Kansas, Louisville and North Carolina State), Nike has a far larger list of sponsored programs, including heavyweights such as Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Nike suggests it has cooperated fully with the government and even investigated itself. The extent of that internal investigation is unknown however and any blanket acquittal of EYBL behavior seems highly questionable to anyone with even cursory knowledge of the sport.

Legally, Nike is arguing that since none of the men subpoenaed had ever spoken to Avenatti, they have no direct knowledge of his crimes and thus shouldn’t have to testify.

They are accusing Avenatti of trying to run a shadow trial concerning Nike’s conduct. Avenatti is countering that proving Nike was engaged in the same nefarious conduct as Adidas assists his defense that he was offering to run a real internal investigation for the company and not trying to shake them down.

Michael Avenatti arrested by IRS agents for allegedly violating his bail terms a week before federal trial

  Michael Avenatti arrested by IRS agents for allegedly violating his bail terms a week before federal trial Criminal charges have been filed against a now-retired LAPD officer who was accused by an ex-girlfriend who is also an LAPD officer of domestic violence and distributing "revenge porn."

“A ‘mini-trial’ is ... what will occur if the Court permits Mr. Avenatti to call the Nike Employees to testify,” Nike argued. “Mr. Avenatti’s defense strategy is to obfuscate: he will do everything he can to argue to the jury that Nike engaged in broad misconduct, that Nike concealed this conduct from the Government, and that Nike ran to the Government only after Mr. Avenatti arrived on the scene.”

Whether that should be permitted is a question for the court.

For everyone else, however, a mini-trial is the most interesting part of the case, likely to produce the kind of dirty laundry that, once upon a time, the SDNY said was the goal of this entire ordeal.

It didn’t happen with the Adidas trials. Will it, now, with Nike?

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