Michael Avenatti Convicted on 3 Charges After Attempted Extortion of Nike

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2020

FILE - In this Tuesday, July 23, 2019 file photo, Michael Avenatti makes a statement to the press as he leaves federal court, in New York. Lawyer Michael Avenatti says charging Nike $25 million to probe corruption at the sportswear giant was a bargain rather than extortion. An attorney for Avenatti told a judge Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 that a November extortion trial should be postponed until January so he can gather more proof.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Richard Drew/Associated Press

Attorney Michael Avenatti was convicted on three charges Friday related to his attempt to extort up to $25 million from Nike. 

According to CNN's Aaron Cooper and Darran Simon, Avenatti threatened to go public with evidence of Nike paying college basketball players and their families unless they compensated him. He was convicted on charges of transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, attempted extortion and honest services wire fraud.

Avenatti is also facing two other trials, including a case in which adult film star Stormy Daniels alleges that he stole $300,000 in money generated from a book she wrote while he was representing her against President Donald Trump.

In the other case, Avenatti is accused of defrauding clients out of millions of dollars in California.

After Avenatti was charged with extortion and bank and wire fraud in March 2019, he alleged on Twitter that Nike paid a pair of former college basketball stars and their families.

Avenatti said Nike paid former University of Arizona and current Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and his mother but attempted to cover it up. He also accused Nike of paying former University of Oregon and current Denver Nuggets center Bol Bol and his "handlers."

Additionally, Avenatti said that Nike had not been cooperating with investigators despite its claims and accused Nike of "lying in response to subpoenas and withholding documents."

ESPN's Mark Schlabach reported last year that Avenatti threatened to hold a press conference in which he would expose Nike unless it agreed to pay $1.5 million to one of Avenatti's clients, who he said possessed information that would be damaging to Nike's reputation.

Avenatti also allegedly demanded that Nike hire him and the client to conduct an "internal investigation," as well as pay them a sum between $15 million and $25 million.

Avenatti's bail was revoked by a federal judge last month, and he was arrested for violating the conditions of his release bond amid other allegations.

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