Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives at the U.S. courthouse in New York on October 8, 2019.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Michael Avenatti, the cheeky lawyer who became a major enemy of then-President Donald Trump, faces a criminal conviction on Thursday afternoon in New York for a cheeky botched plan to blackmail sportswear giant Nike for up to $ 25 million.
Avenatti’s anger won’t end after Manhattan Federal Court Justice Paul Gardephe convicts him on the Nike case, in which prosecutors have called for roughly eight years in prison. His defense lawyers want him to be detained for only six months.
The 50-year-old California attorney faces two other federal criminal cases pending.
Next week in California, Avenatti will begin a trial on a series of charges where prosecutors said he defrauded customers of millions of dollars. One of these clients was a mentally ill paraplegic.
Next year, Avenatti is due to be tried in Manhattan federal court for allegedly defrauding another fallen customer, porn star Storm Daniels, for $ 300,000 in proceeds for a book she wrote.
Avenatti has denied any criminal misconduct.
He gained widespread fame and disgrace for his bombastic portrayal of Daniels, who says she once had sex with Trump before he ran for president.
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Trump’s personal attorney at the time, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $ 130,000 to keep silent about her allegations shortly before the 2016 presidential election so as not to affect Trump’s chances of winning the White House. Trump denies having sex with Daniels.
After the hush money program was exposed, Avenatti has been an almost constant presence on cable television news attacking Trump and Cohen. Avenatti once flirted with running for the Democratic presidential run in 2020.
But the attorney’s commercial flash came as he staggered under millions in debt, a burden prosecutors alleged had committed a series of serious crimes for which he was charged in early 2019.
In the Nike case, Avenatti was tried in court for attempting to put down the listed company by threatening in March 2019 that he would go public with alleged evidence that Nike bribed amateur basketball players and their families.
Avenatti warned Nike’s attorney that the allegations “could reduce your client’s market capitalization by $ 10 billion”.
“I don’t play around with it and I don’t play any more,” Avenatti told Nike lawyers shortly before his arrest.