Political

Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti found guilty in Nike extortion trial

“You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem,” he said.

“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.”

Avenatti’s lawyer Howard Srebnick argued to jurors that Avenatti was behaving to Nike’s lawyer “exactly” how “the clients wanted.”

“He acted in good faith,” Srebnick said in his closing argument.

“In the words of Nike itself, he went in there to ‘Just Do It,’ for his client.”

Jurors began deliberating in the case on Wednesday, after nearly three weeks of testimony and evidence.

Avenatti, who was ordered jailed last month without bail for alleged violations of his release bond, faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison, although he is likely to get far less time than that.

He is scheduled to be sentenced June 17 on the charges of extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, and wire fraud.

Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, whose office prosecuted Avenatti, said in a prepared statement, “While the defendant may have tried to hide behind legal terms and a suit and tie, the jury clearly saw the defendant’s scheme for what it was — an old fashioned shakedown.”

Nike said in a statement, “The verdict speaks volumes. We thank the jurors for their time and service which is the bedrock of the American judicial system.”

Perry, Avenatti’s other lawyer, said, “We are obviously disappointed in the verdict, and even surprised by it.”

She said that the defense has “preserved some significant issues” on which to appeal.

Perry also said that the defense soon will file a motion seeking to change Avenatti’s conditions of detention in the special housing unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the federal jail in lower Manhattan.

Perry said Avenatti is being kept in “inhumane” conditions in solitary confinement.

“He’s housed like a caged animal,” she said.

In his next scheduled trial, also in Manhattan federal court, Avenatti is charged with swindling Daniels out of $300,000 in proceeds for a book she wrote.

Article source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/14/disgraced-lawyer-michael-avenatti-found-guilty-in-nike-extortion-trial.html

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