Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti convicted in Nike extortion case

  • Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti convicted in Nike extortion case

Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti convicted in Nike extortion case

A jury in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan found him guilty Friday.

The celebrity lawyer, who rose to fame representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in a suit against President Donald Trump, faced three counts related to what prosecutors said was on extortion attempt: intent to extort; violation of the Hobbs Act, which criminalizes extortion; and honest service wire fraud. Also around that time, Daniels said in a statement that she cut ties with Avenatti more than a month prior, "after discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly".

The maximum sentence is 42 years behind bars, but it is only one of three trials Avenatti is the defendant in. All of Avenatti's claims were proven to be fabricated.

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 and was angry that Nike ended a decade-long sponsorship that provided $72,000 annually and free gear.

Prosecutors said Avenatti, 48, threatened Nike with a press conference to publicise the payments and take several billion of dollars off its market value, unless it paid him and another lawyer up to US$25 million (S$35 million) to conduct an internal probe, and paid the coach US$1.5 million.

Franklin testified that two Nike executives forced him to pay money to the mother of an elite high school basketball player's mother and to pass along payments to the handlers of other players while doctoring paperwork to hide the objective of the funds.

He faces additional criminal charges in the Southern District of NY for stealing the book advance on Daniels' memoir.