Now that the feds have proved that tough-talking porn lawyer Michael Avenatti is an extortionist, they only have to prove he ripped off his clients and defrauded a bank.
On Friday, a jury in New York City convicted Avenatti (shown) of trying to extort the Nike athletic company out of millions.
With that case done, Avenatti, who falsely smeared U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a gang rapist, can prepare for his next trial in May.
Avenatti committed three crimes in his attempt to extort $20 million from the athletic shoe giant: “extortion, wire fraud, and transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
He threatened to hit the company with damaging allegations he would withhold if Nike met his demands. As prosecutors alleged in the indictment, Nike could escape the smear job if it paid $1.5 million to an Avenatti client “in possession of information damaging to Nike,” and “agreed to ‘retain’ Avenatti and [his co-conspirator] to conduct an ‘internal investigation’ — an investigation that Nike did not request — for which Avenatti and [his co-conspirator] demanded to be paid, at a minimum, between $15 and $25 million.”
Or, Avenatti told Nike, the company could pay $22.5 million to settle his client’s claims and “additionally to buy Avenatti’s silence.”
While Avenatti “may have tried to hide behind legal terms and a suit and tie,” Federal prosecutor Geoffrey S. Berman said, “the jury clearly saw the defendant’s scheme for what it was — an old fashioned shakedown.”
Avenatti’s attorney promised an appeal because Avenatti “has been a fighter his entire life,” the New York Times reported.
Avenatti is scheduled for sentencing on June 17 and could land in prison for 40 years.
Other Cases Outstanding
Before Avenatti finds out if he’ll spend most of the rest of his life in jail for extortion, he’ll go on trial for attempting to defraud his clients.
Prosecutors in that case, which goes to trial on May 19, allege that Avenatti ripped off clients to finance his jet-setting lifestyle.
“Avenatti would negotiate a settlement on behalf of a client that would require the payment of funds to the client,” the indictment alleged, and then would “misrepresent, conceal, and falsely describe to the client the true terms of the settlement and/or the disposition of the settlement proceeds.”
Then he “would cause the settlement proceeds to be deposited in or transferred to attorney trust accounts” that he controlled. Avenatti “would embezzle and misappropriate settlement proceeds.”
Avenatti defrauded a bank in Mississippi and repeatedly perjured himself with “materially false declarations and statements” to and a “false oath” in federal bankruptcy court, prosecutors allege. He also allegedly dodged federal income taxes.
On January 15 while in court for California Bar disciplinary hearing, the feds arrested him again violating the terms of his release.
Prosecutors alleged ... that Avenatti had “brazenly attempted” to hide his money and defraud people and entities to whom he was millions of dollars in debt — including a former law partner he owed $5 million, a former client he owed $2.2 million, and an ex-wife he owed $2.5 million in spousal and child support.
“The fact that defendant continued to engage in criminal conduct after he had been indicted in this case and while on bond demonstrates that defendant remains a substantial economic danger to the community,” prosecutors wrote.
Aside from facing a long term in jail, Avenatti is ruined as a lawyer. The California Bar’s filing that details his alleged thievery suggests he will be disbarred.
Avenatti vs. Trump, Kavanaugh
Few would know who Avenatti is were it not for porn queen Stormy Daniels, for whom he sued Donald Trump.
The tough-talking lawyer famously lost that case.
But perhaps Avenatti’s biggest failure, aside from getting caught trying to shake down a major corporation, was his crusade against Kavanaugh.
During Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, already disrupted by false sex-abuse allegations from leftist professor Christine Blasey Ford, Avenatti stepped forward with the ridiculous accusation that the nominee, during high school, regularly attended and enthusiastically participated in gang rapes at alcohol-fueld parties.
Senator Charles Grassley, who ran the hearings as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, concluded that Avenatti’s claims were a fraud and that he lied to the committee.
As for Avenatti’s presidential ambitions, Donald Trump, Jr., whom Avenatti predicted would be indicted, believes the crooked lawyer still has a chance. Tweeted Trump Jr., “he’s a shoo in for the 2064 Democratic nomination.”
Photo of Michael Avenatti: AP Images
R. Cort Kirkwood is a longtime contributor to The New American and a former newspaper editor.