Attorney Michael Avenatti could be facing “very substantial” prison time as retribution for his attempt to extort millions of dollars from Nike, according to Breitbart News.
Avenatti, 50, was convicted last year in a trial where his lawyers requested leniency saying that they believed six months in prison and a year of home detention would be sufficient punishment for the crime committed.
The California attorney was representing a Los Angeles-based youth basketball program when he attempted to extort Nike for $25 million to keep him quiet about allegations of corruption involving the athletics brand and college program.
Avenatti, the attorney that previously represented adult entertainer Stormy Daniels in her suit against former President Donald Trump, gained notoriety during the early months of the Trump administration and even contemplated a run for the White House.
In the time since representing Daniels, the attorney has been involved in several scandals, the most notable of which was his attempt at swindling Nike.
According to Breitbart’s report, the Probation Office officials recommend an eight-year prison term in the Manhattan federal court where Avenatti’s trial took place.
“The defendant, a prominent attorney and media personality with a large public following, betrayed his client and sought to enrich himself by weaponizing his public profile in an attempt to extort a publicly traded company out of tens of millions of dollars. This was an egregious abuse of trust, and it warrants real and serious punishment,” prosecutors wrote.
According to Nike, however, Avenatti did substantial damage to the brand, and prosecutors included witness impact statements from both Nike and Avenatti’s former client, Gary Franklin Sr., urging the judge to force the attorney to pay $1 million in restitution to Nike.
Nike’s stock price reportedly suffered immediately after the accusations from Avenatti surfaced, dropping by a dollar, which represented $300 million, according to the company.
“Nike executives were shocked,” the lawyers wrote. “Nike had made a decision to not pay Mr. Avenatti, and now they were watching as he carried out what he had criminally threatened to do.”