A federal jury in New York convicted attorney Michael Avenatti on charges he attempted to extort more than $20 million from Nike.
Prosecutors accused the former attorney of Stormy Daniels of threatening to release damaging information about the company if it didn’t pay $1.5 million to a client who had the information. He also said Nike must retain him and another person for between $15 million and $25 million to conduct an internal investigation.
Police arrested Avenatti, 48, in March hours after he tweeted about a news conference he planned to hold to release the damaging information.
Amateur basketball coach Gary Franklin hired Avenatti to represent him, making allegations that Nike asked him to make secret cash payments to the families of good players, a violation of NCAA rules. He said he wanted to stop the alleged payments and corruption.
Avenatti faces two other trials, one in Manhattan in which Daniels accused him of stealing $300,000 from her. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Avenatti represented Daniels amid a scandal in which President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid her $130,000to keep quiet about an affair she said she had with Trump after his marriage to Melania Trump. The scandal resulted in campaign finance convictions for Cohen, because he made the hush-money payment in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
In another case, in Los Angeles, a federal grand jury indicted him on 36 counts of fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement and other financial crimes for allegedly stealing millions from five clients through a group of shell companies and bank accounts.
Avenatti is scheduled to be sentenced in the Nike case on June 17.Copyright 2020 United Press International, Inc.
(UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.