Michael Avenatti has been found guilty on all counts in Nike extortion trial

Posted Friday, 14 February 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Michael Avenatti is guilty on all three counts he was facing, according to a decision by a jury in federal court in New York on Friday.Prosecutors said the lawyer threatened to publicly accuse athletic apparel maker Nike of illicitly paying amateur basketball players unless the company paid him millions of dollars. The government said Avenatti also betrayed his client, a youth basketball coach who made the allegations against Nike, by advocating for money for himself instead of the client. Avenatti was charged with transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, attempted extortion and honest services wire fraud. He still faces two additional trials for allegedly stealing Stormy Daniels' book advance and committing fraud in California. He is being held in jail for allegedly violating the terms of his bail in the California case.Gary Franklin, the youth basketball coach who Michael Avenatti represented, testified last week that he was bullied by Nike executives who forced him to make the illicit payments to top high school basketball players and their families. In 2018, the company ended its sponsorship of Franklin's program, the California Supreme. Franklin said he wanted Avenatti to get Nike to renew his team's sponsorship and get two Nike executives fired.Avenatti was in "crushing debt" at the time and wanted to use Franklin's case to make money, prosecutors said. The high-powered attorney saw Franklin as a "meal ticket," they argued. Nike lawyers who took the stand during the trial said Avenatti told them he would hold a press conference claiming the company illegally paid players. In exchange for not going public, Avenatti told the lawyers in one meeting Nike would have to pay Franklin $1.5 million for any claims he had and immediately pay Avenatti and another attorney $12 million, and guarantee $15 to $25 million in payments for an internal investigation, prosecutors said. Benjamin Homes, an associate attorney for Nike's outside law firm who took notes during several of the meetings with Avenatti, testified that it "evolved into really a shakedown."Franklin testified he was shocked to find out Avenatti was planning a press conference.Avenatti's attorneys have denied he committed any criminal acts because he was acting on behalf of his client who could legally make demands if they related to his claim. They argued Franklin and his friend, Jeffrey Auerbach, have changed their stories since Avenatti was arrested. Citing previous testimony and text messages between Auerbach and Franklin, defense attorneys said the two men were after "justice" and hired "Avenatti to be Avenatti" to get it. They had looked up firms that had "successfully sued Nike" and said it was time to "go after Nike," defense attorney Scott Srebnick said in closing arguments. Auerbach also researched a jury verdict Avenatti won that totaled more than $400 million, and Auerbach and Franklin allegedly told Avenatti "do it your way" after hiring him, Srebnick said. Franklin said he wanted to root out corruption, and Avenatti was on a mission, defense attorneys argued. "The only way to root out corruption, the only way to dismiss employees for corruption is an internal investigation," Howard Srebnick, another defense attorney, said. "He was on a mission for his client. He was on a mission to achieve the goals of his client, and again he would be paid along the way."CNN's Taylor Romine contributed to this report.

Other articles published by CNN

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Harry Styles has postponed the European leg of "Love On Tour" to 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic continues across the globe.The former One Direction star had been due to kick off the 26-date tour in Birmingham, England on April 15, with pitstops in ...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Scientists have found that our teeth can provide a record of human life, much like the rings of a tree.The discovery that our teeth are an "archive of life" could allow us to better understand menopause, birth patterns and child-rearing among early...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Handshakes will probably be out of style for a while. Perhaps we should consider the namaste gesture instead. Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day.(You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said it is expediting the use of a blood plasma treatment for patients seriously ill with the coronavirus, making it easier for doctors to try another tool to attack the illness.The FDA said in a news...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)It was meant to be the first Games to be held beyond Europe and North America, a spectacle to showcase to the world that Tokyo had overcome the earthquake that had devastated the city some years earlier. But the 1940 Olympics was the Games that...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)It's a scenario all too many of us are facing -- or will soon face. You or a loved one has a mild fever, body aches, the start of a nagging, dry cough. Food doesn't taste good nor smell as it once did. Maybe you...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)There's no easy time to get sober, but a global pandemic is tougher than most. Back when I was trying and failing to quit, I'd reach for any excuse to bail on my better self. A bad day. A text from my ex, or no text. One day, a snowstorm walloped...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)As the coronavirus situation intensifies, you might be wondering: how can I keep myself healthy? And will swallowing a pill protect me from getting sick?First, there's the not-so-great news. Despite claims you may have seen on the Internet, there's...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

New Delhi (CNN)As the global coronavirus pandemic worsens by the day, fear is swelling in India -- and frontline medical workers are bearing the brunt of public panic.India has reported 562 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, a relatively low number...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

Hong Kong (CNN)Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has warned local officials not to hide new coronavirus cases, after the country reported several days of no locally transmitted infections in a major turnaround in its fight against the deadly pandemic.Li, the...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)President Donald Trump says he's hopeful Americans will be able to return to work in less than three weeks -- an outlook in stark contrast with that of world health officials who say the US may become the coronavirus pandemic's new...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Minnesota Timberwolves player Karl-Anthony Towns took to Instagram to share his mother's fight with Covid-19 in hopes it would encourage others to follow precautions to stop its spread."This disease is real," he said. "This disease needs not to be...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Danielle and Kenny Scott are used to facing obstacles together.Danielle, who is 34, had a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in 2013. Kenny was right by her side, despite the fact that they had only been dating three...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)When Brandon Waltman went to visit his newborn baby girl in the neonatal intensive care unit of an Alabama hospital Monday night, he was told she had been placed in isolation.His daughter Emmarie Grace Waltman has been in the NICU of the University...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

Washington (CNN)White House and Senate leaders struck a major deal early Wednesday morning over a $2-trillion package to provide a jolt to an economy struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, capping days of marathon negotiations that produced one of the ...