Creepy porn lawyer, Brian ‘Tater’ Stelter bestie, and former presidential aspirant. Michael Avenatti was found guilty by a federal jury in Manhattan of three counts of attempting to extort Nike of about $25 million.
Avenatti was arrested in March, about 15 minutes after tweeting that he had scheduled a press conference tomorrow to “disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike.”
Prosecutors said he demanded that Nike pay a client of his $1.5 million and compensate him and an unidentified co-conspirator $15 million to $25 million to conduct an “internal investigation” for the company.
The lawyer allegedly had debt of over $11 million at the time of his extortion scheme.
He had met with Nike representatives on March 19 claiming to represent a youth basketball coach who had information that Nike employees made illicit payments to the families of high school athletes, and threatening to hold a news conference to expose the company unless it agreed to pay him and his client millions of dollars, according to court papers.
The next day, the FBI captured him on a recorded call hurling expletives as he pressured Nike reps to pay up, lest he tarnish the company’s reputation and trash their stock.
“I’m not f—ing around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games,” Avenatti told Nike representatives, according to court papers. “You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem. And it’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing. A few million dollars doesn’t move the needle for me.”
“This is what extortion sounds like,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Podolsky said after repeatedly playing Avenatti’s recorded demands.
At sentencing, Avenatti could be facing over 40 years in prison if he is maxed out. But he’s a Democrat and anti-Trumper and this is New York, so he’ll probably get probation.
This is not the end of trouble for Avenatti. In April, he goes on trial in New York on charges that he defrauded Stormy Daniels of the proceeds for her book. In May, he’s appearing in Los Angeles to face charges of defrauding clients, including stealing the settlement a paraplegic client had received, income tax evasion, and lying to IRS agents. What makes those next two trials more problematic is that he will be known as ‘convicted felon’ and the sentences will be most likely have to be served consecutively with whatever he gets from the Nike trial.
Avenatti's story is the stuff of a bizarro Dickens novel — a young man with a corrupt heart who nearly reaches his dreams of redemption only to be brought down by his own intransigent malignancy. https://t.co/bNXF0jakRS
— Mark Augustine (@MarkAugustine60) February 14, 2020
Bad news for Alexandra Chalupa who now needs new counsel….
Michael Avenatti was also . . .
Alexandra Chalupa's Attorney🤔 pic.twitter.com/cYmPV2TAck
— Lawyerforlaws (@lawyer4laws) February 14, 2020
And just in case you think the media are anything but utterly corrupt, behold your media gods and be afraid:
CNN's Brian Stelter last year on Michael Avenatti running for president: "And looking ahead to 2020, one reason I’m taking you seriously as a contender is because of your presence on cable news.” pic.twitter.com/2Wn2bX17kx
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 22, 2019