Michael Avenatti, the pugnacious lawyer who rose to fame representing porn star and Trump mistress Stormy Daniels, is now a convicted criminal. A jury found him guilty today of trying to extort millions of dollars from fashion brand Nike by threatening to publicly accuse them of making illegal payments to amateur athletes. He'll be sentenced in June, and faces two other trials: one on a count of fraud, and another for allegedly stealing Daniels' book advance.
Avenatti made the sign of the cross prior to the verdict being read, stared at the jury and looked down at the table. He told the lawyers, "Great job, you guys," and hugged one of them as he was led away to a backroom. He was not handcuffed.
"Of course there will be an appeal," Scott Srebnick, Avenatti's lead defense attorney, told CNN. Srebnick said he was going to meet with Avenatti before his cient was taken to the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he's been in custody throughout the trial. ...
Nike lawyers who took the stand during the trial said Avenatti told them he would hold a press conference claiming the company illegally paid players. In exchange for not going public, Avenatti told the lawyers in one meeting Nike would have to pay Franklin $1.5 million for any claims he had and immediately pay Avenatti and another attorney $12 million, and guarantee $15 to $25 million in payments for an internal investigation, prosecutors said.
"An old fashioned shakedown," as the prosecutor put it.
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