John Minchiro / AP
New York — Cheeky California lawyer Michael Avenatti, who once represented Stormy Daniels in a proceeding against President Donald Trump, tried to extort up to $ 25 million from Nike by threatening the company with bad publicity. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on Thursday.
Avenatti, 50, was angry with Nike’s end of league sponsorship last year on charges of attempted blackmail and sincere service fraud in connection with the agent of the Los Angeles Youth Basketball League organizer. I was convicted.
Judge Paul G. Gardef of the U.S. District Court called Avenatti’s actions “exorbitant” and “hijacked client claims. He used those claims to make millions of dollars from Nike. I promoted my agenda to force myself. “
Judge Avenatti said, “I was intoxicated with the power of my platform, or of my perception of the power of my platform. He has laws and regulations that apply to everyone else. Became a person who acts as if it doesn’t apply. Apply to him. “
Before the judge spoke, Avenatti sometimes made emotional remarks through tears.
“Your honor, I learned that all the fame, infamy, and money in the world are meaningless. Your honor, TV and Twitter, doesn’t mean anything,” he said.
He ended his statement by saying what he expected of his three children, including two teenage daughters who wrote to the judge.
“All fathers want their children to be proud of them. I want them to be ashamed. If they are ashamed, it means that their moral compass is exactly where it should be. “Body,” he said.
Avenatti was once a lawyer
Criminal fraud accusations on the two coasts prevented Avenatti’s rapid rise in fame. He also faces fraud trials in the Los Angeles area next week, a second California criminal trial later this year, and another trial in Manhattan next year, where he tricks Daniels from hundreds of thousands of dollars. Have been charged with being charged.
Avenatti represented Daniels in a proceeding against Trump in 2018 and frequently appeared on cable news programs to despise the Republican president. Avenatti sought a match against Trump in 2020 and boasted that “there was no problem with funding.” According to Daniels, a trial with Trump 10 years ago resulted in a $ 130,000 payment from Trump’s private lawyer in 2016 to keep him silent. Trump denied the case.
These political aspirations disappeared when California and New York prosecutors charged Avenatti with fraud in March 2019. A California prosecutor said he was fooling clients from millions of dollars and enjoying a $ 200,000 monthly lifestyle without paying hundreds of thousands of dollars internally. Revenue service.
Accusations alleging that he tricked Daniels from his income from a book deal that lasted a few weeks later. Avenatti pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Nike told court that Avenatti did a lot of harm
Prosecutors demanded a “very substantive” decision because the US probation office recommended eight years’ imprisonment. Avenatti’s lawyer said six months in prison and one year of house arrest were sufficient punishment.
On Tuesday, the judge denied Avenatti’s lawyer’s request to revoke his conviction in Nike’s proceedings for attempted extortion and honest service transfer fraud. The judge wrote that evidence shows that Avenatti “developed an approach to Nike designed to enrich himself” rather than addressing the client’s goals.
Prosecutors said in a written debate of the ruling that Avenatti sought to enrich himself by “arming his public profile” in an attempt to force Nike to submit to his demands. Stated.
In a statement about the impact on victims, Nike’s lawyer mislinks Avenatti into a scandal of bribeing a family of college basketball players detained by the NBA to lead them to a powerful program. He said that he did a lot of harm to the company. An employee of Nike’s rival Adidas was convicted of the indictment.
Lawyers said Avenatti threatened to cost Nike billions of dollars and mistakenly tweeted that criminal activity at Nike had reached “highest levels.”
John Minchiro / AP
Gary Franklin, Jr., a former client of Avenatti, said in a statement submitted by the prosecutor that Avenatti’s actions “has destroyed me financially, professionally and emotionally.” Franklin was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
Avenatti’s lawyer said in his presence submission that the client was suffering enough, and ended up last year after the lawyer said he was particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, with shame and a difficult stint in prison. I mentioned it.
“Avenatti’s epic corruption and public shame happened before the whole world. The corruption of Avenatti’s catastrophe is well documented, and courts may pay judicial attention to this fact. I don’t know, “the lawyer wrote.
Prosecutors have asked Gardef to impose a $ 1 million reparation order to cover Nike’s legal costs, but Avenatti’s lawyer cites the lack of financial loss as a reason for generosity.
“There was no financial loss to the victim, so there is no compensation in this case,” they wrote. “Despite this fact, the fact that a white-collar federal criminal case has been filed is itself an important mitigating factor.”