CNN’s presidential candidate Michael Avenatti gets 2 1/2 years in prison


Michael Avenatti was sentenced to two and a half years in prison Thursday because he was found guilty of an extortion scheme against Nike. This one of several criminal cases against him.

Avenattti attempted to extort more than $22 million from Nike.

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, known as the man who was going to take down Trump, was found guilty on all three charges he faced for attempting to extort over $20 million from sportswear and apparel giant Nike.

He was charged with threatening the sportswear giant that he would stage a news conference exposing its efforts to corrupt college basketball unless it paid him between $15 and $25 million to conduct an internal investigation into his claims.

Nike had him on tape.

“I’m not f*cking around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games. And I don’t — you know, this isn’t complicated,” Avenatti told Nike representatives just prior to his arrest in March 2019. “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. I’m just being really frank with you,” he added. “I’ll go take $10 billion off your client’s market cap.”


Judge Paul Gardephe of the Southern District of New York, the presiding judge during Avenatti’s 2020 trial, sentenced him to an aggregate sentence of 30 months behind bars and three years of supervised release.

The judge said in the New York City courtroom on Thursday, “Mr. Avenatti’s conduct was outrageous. He hijacked his client’s claims, and he used those claims to further his own agenda — which was to extort millions of dollars from Nike to enrich himself.” The George W. Bush appointee added: “Mr. Avenatti had become drunk on the power of his platform, or what he perceived the power of his platform to be. He had become someone who operated as if the laws and rules that apply to everyone else didn’t apply to him.”

Avenatti spoke tearfully before his sentencing.

“When I was a child I dreamed about becoming a lawyer … Fighting for the little guy against the Goliaths. For years I did just that, but then I lost my way. I betrayed my own values, my friends, my family, and myself. I betrayed my profession,” Avenatti said between tears. “I’ve learned that all the fame, notoriety, and money in the world is meaningless. TV and Twitter, Your Honor, mean nothing. Everyone wants to ride in the limo with you, but few want to ride with you on the bus.”

Avenatti added: “I am truly sorry for all of the pain that I have caused to Mr. Franklin and others. I am deeply humbled before you today. Despite the deep shame and remorse, I still feel positive because I know I can do better … I am forever grateful for the love and support of my family. They have shown me this love even when I least deserved it.”


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