Attorney Michael Avenatti, who handled a pair of high-profile cases against the NFL before turning his attention to a much larger fish, has gone from the frying pan into the fire.
A jury has convicted Avenatti on all counts in a case involving the extortion of Nike. He demanded payment from the shoemaking giant in exchange for not going public with evidence suggeting that Nike had made inappropriate payments to the families of high-school athletes.
“Today a unanimous jury found Michael Avenatti guilty of misusing his client’s information in an effort to extort tens of millions of dollars from the athletic apparel company Nike,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement, via NBCNews.com. “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.”
Avenatti faces up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing has been set for June.
The California-based lawyer represented clients against the NFL following the Super Bowl XLV seating debacle and the 2016 Hall of Fame game, which was canceled due to errors in preparing the field for play.
Avenatti rose to fame in connection with his representation of Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who received hush money from President Trump following an alleged affair. Avenatti became a regular on cable news shows, and he briefly became a candidate for president.
He faces other legal jeopary relating to defrauding and stealing money from clients, including charges in New York that he kept $300,000 paid by a book publisher to Daniels.