Michael Avenatti is convicted of trying to extort Nike

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FILE – In this July 23, 2019, file photo, California attorney Michael Avenatti walks from a courthouse in New York, after facing charges. A Los Angeles amateur basketball league’s founder told jurors Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, that Avenatti betrayed him when the lawyer threatened to make his complaints against Nike public. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – A lawyer who gained fame by representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump has been convicted of trying to extort sportswear giant Nike.

The verdict against Michael Avenatti was returned Friday by a federal jury in Manhattan. It followed a three-week trial in which prosecutors claimed Avenatti made threats to use his media access to hurt Nike’s reputation and stock price unless the apparel company paid him up to $25 million.

Avenatti did not testify, but his lawyers said he was following the wishes of an amateur youth basketball league director who wanted him to force Nike to fire corrupt executives and fix its culture. 

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