Michael Avenatti was sentenced Thursday to 2.5 years in jail for his makes an attempt to extort Nike for roughly $22.5 million over a scheme he had claimed concerned Nike, faculty basketball and model contracts.
A New York federal courtroom issued the sentence to Avenatti after an explosive grievance by prosecutors greater than two years in the past, during which they accused him of threatening Nike and its attorneys that he would go public with what he claimed to be damaging particulars about Nike staff’ alleged position in steering highschool basketball gamers to sure schools.
“The verdict and sentence speak for themselves,” Nike mentioned in a press release. Attorneys for Avenatti couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
In the spring of 2019, Avenatti threatened to carry a press convention to publicize his allegations proper initially of the NCAA match and earlier than a Nike earnings name, prosecutors on the New York Southern District had alleged of their grievance.
But Nike had already been cooperating with investigators for greater than a 12 months by that time. In telephone calls surreptitiously recorded by regulation enforcement, Avenatti was heard demanding that Nike ought to rent him to conduct an inner investigation for the corporate over his basketball allegations, prosecutors mentioned on the time.
Avenatti had sought to be paid between $15 million and $25 million for such an inner investigation, or to be paid a $22.5 million settlement to maintain his allegations silent.
Avenatti, who gained prominence by representing Stormy Daniels in her go well with in opposition to former President Donald Trump, was convicted in February final 12 months on counts of threats and extortion.
“Michael Avenatti used illegal and extortionate threats and betrayed one of his clients for the purpose of seeking to obtain millions of dollars for himself,” mentioned Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in a press release Thursday.
“Not only did Avenatti attempt to weaponize his law license and celebrity to seek to extort payments for himself, he also defrauded his own client,” Strauss mentioned. “Avenatti will now serve substantial time in prison for his criminal conduct.”
Attorneys for Nike have additionally requested the New York federal courtroom to grant it $1 million in restitution for what the corporate characterised as “substantial harm” to the corporate.
“Financially, Nike has incurred costs and expenses assisting in the government’s investigation, addressing Mr. Avenatti’s ongoing false attacks on the company following his arrest, preparing for and participating in Mr. Avenatti’s trial and pursuing a just sentence and fair restitution,” Nike’s attorneys mentioned in courtroom filings. “Those amounts include time and expenses incurred by the company’s own employees as well as the company’s outside lawyers.”