Supreme Court rejects Michael Avenatti’s appeal in Nike fraud case

Attorney Michael Avenatti leaves, following sentencing on the extortion conspiracy charge against Nike Inc., at the U.S. District Court in New York City, July 8, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti’s appeal of his criminal charges for attempting to extort sportswear company Nike.

The court upheld Avenatti’s extortion and fraud charges.

In the brief court order, the court noted that conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not participate in the ruling.

There is no explanation, but one reason could be that Avenatti also related during Kavanaugh’s controversial confirmation hearing, representing one of several women who have come forward with claims of decades-long sexual misconduct against the nominee. Kavanaugh denies all allegations.

Avenatti is sentenced to two and a half years in prison for conspiring to blackmail Nike. He apologized at the sentencing, saying he was “extremely humble.”

The case arose in 2019 when Avenatti represented a youth basketball coach in Los Angeles who accused Nike of making illegal payments to high school athletes. At the same time, Avenatti faced multimillion-dollar judgments and his law firm was evicted.

In his conversations with Nike’s lawyers, Avenatti pressured the company to not only pay his customers but also hire him and another lawyer to conduct an internal investigation of the company. company about this issue. Otherwise, he will make the allegations public, he is reported to have said.

Avenatti was charged with two counts of extortion and one count of fraud under federal law that targets illegal kickbacks by asking people to provide “honest services.” The jury found him guilty on all three counts.

An appeals court upheld the convictions.

The Supreme Court has expressed skepticism about the scope of the honest services fraud statute in previous cases, including last year’s ruling when the Supreme Court issued its ruling. throw away the verdict by an aide to former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Avenatti has frequently attracted attention over the years. One of his former clients is adult film star Stormy Daniels, whom he represented in her bid to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement she signed about her alleged sexual encounter with her ex. President Donald Trump.

Trump is currently on trial on charges that he violated New York law by making so-called “hush” payments to Daniels.

The Nike case is not the only legal trouble Avenatti has encountered. sentenced to 14 years in prison for defrauding customers of millions of dollars and letting four years in prison for stealing Daniels’ money. Avenatti is currently being held at a federal prison in California, scheduled to be released in August 2035.


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