Michael Avenatti sentenced to 30 months in Nike extortion case
Michael Avenatti, the former attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, was sentenced to 30 months in prison Thursday for his role in the Nike extortion case.
Avenatti was found guilty in February 2020 of attempting to extort up to $25 million from Nike.
His lawyers had requested that the embattled attorney serve no more than six months in prison, citing his three months behind bars last year after his bail was revoked.
During his sentence hearing on Thursday, Avenatti apologized to the people he harmed in the process, saying he betrayed his values as a lawyer.
“Your honor, I’ve learned that all the fame, notoriety and money in the world is meaningless. TV and Twitter, your honor, mean nothing,” he said, according to The Associated Press.
Prosecutors accused the 50-year-old attorney of threatening to extort the sportswear giant after it ended its relationship with a youth basketball organizer, one of Avenatti’s clients.
Lawyers for Nike said Avenatti falsely tried to link the company to a scandal that involved paying bribes to families of basketball players headed to the NBA. Attorneys said Avenatti tried to do billions of dollars of harm to Nike by alleging that criminal conduct reached the “highest levels” of the company, AP reported.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe said 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,” according to AP.
“Mr. Avenatti’s conduct was outrageous,” Gardephe said.
Avenatti had also been charged with fraud in March 2019. Prosecutors in California have argued that he was cheating clients out of millions of dollars and failed to pay taxes to the IRS. He is also facing charges that he cheated Daniels, an adult film star who claims to have had an affair with former President Trump, out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in book proceeds.
Updated 4:15 p.m.
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