Michael Avenatti convicted of trying to extort Nike

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Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represented a porn star in a lawsuit against President Trump, was found guilty of trying to extort Nike.

On Friday, a New York federal jury found Avenatti guilty of three charges, including extortion, electronic fraud and transmission of interstate communications with the intention of extorting.

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He faces up to 42 years in prison combined.

Avenatti, 48, who did not testify in the case against him, pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming that he tried to extort up to $ 25 million from Nike, threatening to publicly expose corruption at the sports shoe company, unless he was allowed to perform an internal action. company probe.

Prosecutors said he had more than $ 11 million in debt at the time.

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Avenatti stood out during frequent appearances on cable television shows in 2018 and 2019, when journalists courted him for information about porn star Stormy Daniels and his allegations of a Trump attempt before he became president and a reward for staying in silence about it.

At the height of his notoriety, Avenatti even considered running for president.

However, his fall in grace came when he was arrested last year, when he was about to meet Nike lawyers to pressure his demands for millions of dollars to conduct an internal investigation of the Beaverton, Oregon cobbler.

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Avenatti maintained that he was taking an aggressive stance at the request of his client, Gary Franklin, who ran a youth basketball league in Los Angeles and was angry that Nike ended a decade-long sponsorship that provided $ 72,000 a year. and free equipment. He also fetched $ 1.5 million for Franklin.

During the jury's decision on Friday, Avenatti was seen in court blessing himself before the verdict was read. He looked forward with a sad expression on his face. After the jury read the verdict, his lawyer put his hand on his shoulder as a gesture of comfort to Avenatti.

The sentence is scheduled for June 17.

Avenatti's defense lawyer told reporters he will appeal based on instructions from the jury. He told reporters that Avenatti was "very disappointed" with the verdict.

In addition to the extortion trial, Avenatti also faces an April trial in New York on charges of defrauding Daniels of book profits and a May trial in Los Angeles, accused of defrauding clients and millions of dollars more.

Fox News Marta Dhanis, Jennifer Olvia and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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