Michael Avenatti is facing punishment in the Nike extortion scheme

A California lawyer who had publicly feuded with then-President Donald Trump prior to criminal fraud charges interrupted his rapid ascent to fame after a jury concluded a multimillion-dollar extortion attempt from Nike .

Regardless of the outcome, Avenatti faces fraud charges later this year in Los Angeles and a separate trial next year in Manhattan, where he is accused of defrauding his former client – ​​porn star Stormy Daniels – of hundreds of thousands of dollars. charged off.

Avenatti, 50, represented Daniels in lawsuits against Trump in 2018, often appearing on cable news programs to humiliate Republicans as he explored running for president against Trump in 2020, claiming he would “No problem raising money.” Daniels said a decade-ago tryst with Trump led him to be paid $130,000 by Trump’s personal lawyer in 2016 to keep quiet. Trump denies affair

Talk of those aspirations evaporated when prosecutors in Los Angeles and New York charged him with fraud in March 2019. Prosecutors in Los Angeles said he was enjoying a $200,000-a-month lifestyle, defrauding the Internal Revenue Service of millions of dollars of clients and hundreds of thousands of dollars. The allegations allege that he defrauded Daniels a week later with proceeds from the book deal. Avenatti pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Prosecutors have requested a “very significant” sentence, citing the US Department of Probation’s recommendation of an eight-year prison term. Avenatti’s lawyers said six months in prison and one year of house arrest was a sufficient punishment.

On Tuesday, Gardefe rejected a request by Avenatti’s lawyers to quash his sentence in the Nike case on extortion and honest services fraud charges. The judge wrote that the evidence shows that Avenatti, rather than addressing his client’s motives, “created an approach to Nike that was designed to enrich itself”.

In written sentencing arguments, prosecutors said Avenatti tried to enrich himself by “weaponizing his public profile” to try to force Nike to submit to his demands.

In a victim-effect statement, Nike’s lawyers said Avenatti did considerable damage to the company by falsely attempting to link the company to a scandal that involved paying bribes to the families of NBA-bound college basketball players to drive them to powerhouse events. . An employee of Adidas, a competitor to Nike, was convicted in that prosecution.

Lawyers said Avenatti threatened Nike with billions of dollars in damages and then falsely tweeted that criminal conduct at Nike had reached “the highest level.”

Avenatti’s former client, Gary Franklin Jr., said in a statement presented by prosecutors that Avenatti’s action had “devastated me financially, professionally and emotionally.” Franklin was produced in court on Thursday.

In his presentation, Avenatti’s lawyers said his client had suffered greatly, citing huge public shame and a difficult tenure in prison last year, with lawyers saying he was particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Although prosecutors asked Gardefe to enforce a $1 million restitution order to help cover Nike’s legal expenses, Avenatti’s lawyers cited the lack of financial damages as a reason for leniency.

“There is no financial loss to any of the victims, hence no compensation in this case,” he wrote. “The fact that a white-collar federal criminal case was brought in spite of the fact that this is in itself an important mitigating factor.”


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