A New York jury has found Michael Avenatti, the attorney who represented porn actress Stormy Daniels in a dispute with President Donald Trump and was once considered a possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, guilty on all charges in his Nike-related fraud and extortion case.
The disgraced lawyer was accused of attempting to extort $25 million from the athletic wear giant by threatening to publicize evidence that the company paid off the families of young athletes heading to the NBA.
Faces up to 42 years in prison
According to Fox News, jurors found Avenatti guilty on three felony charges: transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, wire fraud, and attempted extortion. He now faces up to 42 years in prison.
The trial lasted about three weeks and included testimonies from several key prosecution witnesses, among them lawyers and Nike employees, as well as recordings of Avenatti's meetings with representatives for Nike. Avenatti's legal team argued that he was only being an assertive attorney attempting to advance the best interests of his client. However, Avenatti's client, Gary Franklin, the founder and coach of youth basketball team California Supreme, testified that he was unaware of his attorney's dealings with Nike.
Throughout the trial, Avenatti was held in custody after violating the bail terms of a separate federal case against him in California. He was held in Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center during his trial.
'Creepy porn lawyer' faces two more trials
Avenatti rose to fame by representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her various legal battles against President Trump and soon became a darling of the media and the left. Democrats and media personalities were so enamored with Avenatti that he was said to be considering running for president in 2020 before his fall from grace.
"I'm exploring a run for the presidency of the United States, and I wanted to come to Iowa and listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework," Avenatti told the Des Moines Register in August 2018.
Dubbed a "creepy porn lawyer" by Fox News' Tucker Carlson, Avenatti's fortunes began turning south in late 2018 after he was accused of domestic violence by a former girlfriend in November of that year.
In addition to his current conviction, Avenatti now faces two other criminal trials. Beginning in April, a Manhattan jury will consider whether the disgraced lawyer cheated Daniels out of $300,000 in proceeds of a book deal. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Avenatti faces a separate federal indictment where he is accused of defrauding his own clients and others.
Avenatti has denied all charges.