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Michael Avenatti guilty on all counts in Nike extortion trial

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Lawyer Michael Avenatti was convicted Friday by a Manhattan federal jury on all three charges related to his efforts to extort millions of dollars from Nike. 

The verdict was returned after the jury deliberated charges of attempted extortion and honest services fraud in what prosecutors say was an attempt by Avenatti to extort up to $25 million from Nike with threats to otherwise harm it. The charges carry a combined potential penalty of 42 years in prison.

Avenatti was accused of threatening to hold a news conference and claim Nike executives were paying elite recruits and their families, unless he was paid to conduct an internal probe. He intended to create an “internal investigation” so Nike could “self-report” misconduct in college basketball’s corruption scandal.

Prosecutors said Avenatti faced over $10 million in debts at the time of his attempted shake down of Nike, according to CNBC.

Avenatti was arrested on federal charges of extortion, wire fraud and bank fraud in March 2019. He tweeted on March 25, 2019 that that he was holding a press conference the following day to “disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by [Nike] that we have uncovered.” 

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