Michael Avenatti Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison For Nike Extortion Scheme

The sentence was delivered by US district judge Paul Gardephe in New York after Avenatti was found guilty of attempted extortion and honest services fraud close to a year ago. Avenatti was convicted last February after he threatened to falsely accuse Nike of paying amateur basketball players unless the sportswear giant handed him up to $25 million. Avenatti told Nike’s lawyers that his accusations could knock $10 billion off Nike’s clients’ stock market capitalization.  

Judge Gardephe said Avenatti’s behaviour was outrageous and criticised the power of his platform. He also sentenced Avenatti to three years of supervised release. Avenatti allegedly wept in court and told his children to be ashamed of him. 

The sentence falls short of federal sentencing recommendations that range from 9 to just over 11 years for the offences committed by Avenatti. However, Judge Gardepe said that both Avenatti’s apparent penitence and the harsh conditions of the Manhattan federal prison, in which he stayed following his 2019 arrest, led to Avenatti receiving a lighter sentence. 

The celebrity lawyer still has three more criminal trials to face. Next week, he will attend a trial in California where prosecutors are accusing him of defrauding clients. Avenatti will face a further criminal trial in California later this year.

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