Attorney Michael Avenatti sentenced to 2.5 years for Nike extortion threat
NBC NEWS — Attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced to 2.5 years by a federal judge on Thursday after attempting to extort tens of millions of dollars from Nike.
Avenatti was convicted in February last year of extortion, the transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, and wire fraud in connection to threats he made against sports equipment and apparel giant Nike, as reported by NBC News.
The attorney was arrested after representing a Los Angeles youth basketball coach who reportedly had information about Nike staff making illicit payments to top high school athletes.
Avenatti threatened to ruin Nike’s reputation and stock prices unless he and his clients were paid millions of dollars, according to the prosecution.
He was recorded on the phone pressuring Nike reps to pay him.
“I’m not f—ing around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games,” Avenatti told Nike reps, according to court papers. “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.”
Prosecutors say he demanded that Nike pay his client $1.5 million and compensate him and his co-conspirator $15 million to $25 million to conduct an “internal investigation” for the company, as reported by NBC News.
Avenatti’s defense lawyers asked for a six-month prison term, as his crimes were not violent and no one was defrauded of any money.
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