Avenatti extortion case to move forward

A district court judge in New York declined to toss out two of the criminal charges against attorney Michael Avenatti on Monday, disagreeing with Avenatti's argument that the counts of extortion were too vague to go forward.

“The indictment adequately alleges that Avenatti engaged in ‘wrongful’ conduct, because it pleads facts demonstrating that Avenatti used threats of economic and reputational harm to demand millions of dollars from Nike, for himself, to which he had no plausible claim of right,” Judge Paul Gardephe said Monday of Avenatti's case, according to Bloomberg News.

Avenatti is charged with attempting to extort Nike over claims of evidence that the sportswear company was involved in illegal payments to athletes.

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Gardephe did not rule on a motion by Avenatti to dismiss a third count against him.

Avenatti, whose trial is set to begin this month in Manhattan, maintained his innocence after the court proceedings, Bloomberg reported.

“I will be fully exonerated by a jury because I did nothing wrong,” he said in a statement.

Before battling the extortion charges, Avenatti famously represented Stormy Daniels, an adult-film star who sued President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE unsuccessfully for defamation. She had argued that Trump's public denial of participating in an affair with her constituted an attack on her character.