The man who once represented Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Donald Trump is currently suffering from his own legal woes after being found guilty of extortion, according to CNN. Michael Avenatti, a once-outspoken critic of the president, was found guilty on Friday on all three of the counts he was facing, according to a jury in federal court.
According to prosecutors, Avenatti had threatened to publicly accuse sportswear company Nike of an illegal scheme where they bribed amateur basketball players if the athletic behemoth did not pay him off. The lawyer had demanded an original $12 million, with an additional $15 million to $25 million in payments to follow for an internal investigation to be lead by a lawyer of Avenatti's choice.
Benjamin Homes, an associate attorney for Nike's outside law firm who had been in several business meetings with Avenatti, testified that the disgraced lawyer's demands "evolved into really a shakedown."
Shocking audio of Avenatti during these meetings was presented in court and seemed to confirm the dealings that the 48-year-old employed while demanding money from Nike.
"I'm not f*cking around with this, and I'm not continuing to play games. And I don't — you know, this isn't complicated. You guys know enough now to know you've got a serious problem," he allegedly said in one recording, via New York Daily News.
"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. I'm just being really frank with you... I'll go take $10 billion off your client's market cap. But I'm not f*cking around."But the extortion was not the end of the story. Prosecutors also alleged that Avenatti used his client, Gary Franklin, and acted against his wishes for his own personal gain.
As reported, Franklin ran a youth basketball program that was affiliated with Nike. Though he testified that he was pressured by the company to illegally pay amateur basketball players and had hoped a new deal could see two executives fired, he claimed that he nevertheless wanted to continue his relationship with Nike. Franklin added that he was shocked when Avenatti arranged a news conference to publicly accuse the company of wrongdoing.
Avenatti reportedly stared straight ahead and gave no reaction after the verdict was read. The attorney, who is facing up to decades in jail, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17.
Though the guilty verdicts signal the end of Avenatti's case with Nike, he soon might be in court once more. The lawyer has been accused by his former client Daniels of stealing her book advance, as well as committing fraud in California.
Meanwhile, Avenatti's nemesis Trump has yet to comment on the outcome of his case, after reportedly believing that his enemies were not being "prosecuted," per The Inquisitr.