Michael Avenatti Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Extortion
Michael Avenatti, the firebrand attorney who took on former President Donald Trump on behalf of adult film star Stormy Daniels, was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Thursday for threatening Nike with bad publicity if the company refused to fork over $25 million.
Avenatti was convicted of attempted extortion and honest services wire fraud early last year.
United States District Judge Paul G. Gardephe called Avenatti’s conduct “outrageous.”
Avenatti “hijacked his client’s claims, and he used those claims to further his own agenda, which was to extort millions of dollars from Nike for himself,” Gardephe said, adding that Avenatti “had become drunk on the power of his platform, or what he perceived the power of his platform to be. He had become someone who operated as if the laws and the rules that applied to everyone else didn’t apply to him.”
Gardephe said that the evidence proved that Avenetti “devised an approach to Nike that was designed to enrich himself.”
Per the Associated Press:
In a victim-impact statement, Nike’s lawyers said Avenatti did considerable harm to the company by falsely trying to link it to a scandal in which bribes were paid to the families of NBA-bound college basketball players to steer them to powerhouse programs. An employee of Adidas, a Nike competitor, was convicted in that prosecution.
The lawyers said Avenatti threatened to do billions of dollars of damage to Nike and then falsely tweeted that criminal conduct at Nike reached the ‘highest levels.’