“Basta” – Tearful Avenatti Sentenced To 2.5 Years In Prison Over Nike Extortion Plot
Michael Avenatti, the sleazy LA lawyer who shot to fame (with more than a little help from his pals at CNN) after representing Stormy Daniels, the former porn star who claimed to have had a brief affair with President Trump, has just been sentenced to 30 months in prison after being convicted on charges of extortion.
The sentencing was the result of a hamfisted scheme to try and extort Nike after he uncovered “evidence” that the athletic apparel giant was inappropriately paying bribes to high school coaches and players, part of the ruthless relationship battle to strike sponsorship deals with the next generation of athletes. The corporate lawyers that Avenatti tried to extort immediately contacted the FBI, who asked them to wear a wire to a second meeting, where Avenatti was caught on tape demanding that Nike essentially pay him $25MM (via consulting contracts and other perks) or risk him going public with the damaging information, which he claimed would wipe billions of dollars’ of Nike’s market cap.
Prosecutors collected plenty of evidence on Avenatti, and even found that Avenatti screwed over the whistleblower coach who first came to him with the information on Nike.
According to reporters who were in the court room during Avenatti’s sentencing, the disgraced lawyer wept as he read a statement to the court, then cried some more after the sentence was handed down.
Federal Judge Paul Gardephe of the Southern District of New York – the same judge who presided over Avenatti’s early 2020 trial – sentenced the outspoken lawyer to 30 months (2.5 years). After handing down the sentence, the judge told the court that “Mr. Avenatti’s conduct was outrageous. He hijacked his client’s claims and he used those claims to further his own agenda — which was to extort millions of dollars from Nike to enrich himself.” The Bush-appointee added: “Mr. 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 rules that apply to everyone else didn’t apply to him.”
Geoffrey Berman, the former US attorney for the Southern District who prosecuted Avenatti, said in February 2020 that “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 has been out of the spotlight since his arrest, which occurred back in 2019, just minutes after he bizarrely tweeted his plans to call a press conference to go public with his “dirt” on Nike.
During the sentencing hearing, the judge read some of the most infamous quotes from the evidence tape made by the Nike lawyers who surreptitiously recorded Avenatti: “I’m not f*cking around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games…You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem. 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’ll proceed with my press conference tomorrow and I’ll hang up with you now and I’ll call the New York Times… I’ll go take and I’ll go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap.”
In another memorable clip, Avenatti said, “have you ever held the balls of the client in your hand where you can take five, six billion dollars in market cap off of ‘em? This is gonna be a major f*cking scandal…I’m gonna be asking, why Nike hasn’t been indicted. I’m gonna break, I’m gonna bring the power of my platform to bear – to expose what the f*ck is goin’ on here… This is gonna be the biggest scandal in sports in a long time.”
The DoJ revealed during his trial that Avenatti was approximately $11MM in debt when he tried to extort Nike, debts that we had previously reported on. Avenatti enjoyed a luxe lifestyle that included living in luxury condominiums and traveling via private jet.
As we mentioned above, Avenatti had plenty of help from CNN and other networks which frequently booked him for interviews. He even once teased a presidential run.
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) July 8, 2021
Glenn Greenwald couldn’t help but poke fun at Avenatti on the occasion, reminding the world how much faith the mainstream media placed in Avenatti, even praising him as a Democratic savior who might one day defeat President Trump.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 8, 2021
Avenatti’s lawyers had asked for a six-month prison term, noting his crimes weren’t violent in nature. However, the judge ultimately sided with prosecutors. Avenatti is also facing criminal charges tied to allegations that he embezzled settlement money that was supposed to be paid out to a former client.
Avenatti’s public profile will likely make for a hard time in the pen (he’ll very likely spend a good chunk of his stay in ‘protective custody’. With that in mind, before he surrenders, we’d like to share some critical advice about how to stay positive in some of the most difficult situations on the inside.
Thu, 07/08/2021 – 15:40