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Friday, 14 February 2020 15:29

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti is found guilty in Nike extortion case

Written by Reuters
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. jury on Friday found Michael Avenatti guilty in a criminal trial accusing the celebrity lawyer of trying to extort Nike Inc out of millions of dollars and defraud a youth basketball coach he represented.

Jurors in Manhattan federal court needed 2-1/2 days to decide the fate of Avenatti, a brash lawyer all but unknown until two years ago when he began representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against U.S. President Donald Trump and making hundreds of television appearances.

Avenatti, 48, who positioned his chair so he could face the jurors during his 2-1/2-week trial, stared at them as the verdict was read. He could get more than 40 years in prison at his scheduled June 17 sentencing.

“Of course there will be an appeal, yes,” Avenatti’s lawyer Scott Srebnick told reporters after the verdict.

Avenatti also faces scheduled criminal trials this spring in Manhattan on charges he defrauded Daniels out of proceeds from a book contract, and in California on charges he defrauded several other clients and lied to the Internal Revenue Service.

He has been jailed in Manhattan since Jan. 17 after California prosecutors said he violated his bail conditions.

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