Trump’s enemy Michael Avenatti convicted in Nike extortion case

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Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrives at the United States Courthouse in New York City on October 8, 2019.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Michael Avenatti, the brash lawyer who has become one of the main enemies of then-President Donald Trump, faces criminal conviction in New York on Thursday afternoon for a cheeky ploy to extort the clothing giant Nike sportswear up to $ 25 million.

Avenatti’s troubles will not end after Manhattan federal court judge Paul Gardephe convicted him in the Nike case, in which prosecutors asked for a jail term of around eight years. His defense lawyers want him to get just six months in jail.

The 50-year-old California lawyer faces two more pending federal criminal trials.

Next week, Avenatti is set to begin his trial on a series of charges in California, where prosecutors have said he defrauded clients of millions of dollars. One of these clients was a paraplegic with mental health problems.

Next year, back in Manhattan federal court, Avenatti is set to stand trial for allegedly defrauding another fallen customer, pornstar Storm Daniels, out of the $ 300,000 in proceeds from a book she wrote.

Avenatti has denied any wrongdoing.

He gained widespread fame and infamy for his bombastic portrayal of Daniels, who says she had sex with Trump once before running for president.

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Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $ 130,000 to remain silent on his allegations shortly before the 2016 presidential election to avoid hurting Trump’s chances of winning the White House. Trump denies having had sex with Daniels.

After the secret money scheme was exposed, Avenatti was an almost constant presence on cable TV news shows, where he attacked Trump and Cohen. Avenatti flirted at one point with the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination contest.

But the attorney’s publicity blitz came while he was under millions of dollars in debt, a burden that prosecutors say led him to commit a series of serious crimes for which he was charged in early 2019. .

In the Nike case, Avenatti was found guilty during the trial of trying to shake up the publicly listed company by threatening in March 2019 to release alleged evidence that Nike bribed amateur basketball players and their families.

Avenatti warned Nike’s attorney that the claims could “take ten billion dollars out of your client’s market capitalization.”

“I’m not kidding with that, and I don’t continue to play games,” Avenatti told Nike attorneys shortly before his arrest.

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