Judge Rejects Michael Avenatti’s Bid to Dismiss Nike Extortion Trial

Attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing an alleged R. Kelly victim, speaks to reporters at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago after the R&B singer entered a not guilty plea to all 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, Monday morning, Feb. 25, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

A New York federal judge rejected Michael Avenatti’s bid Wednesday to dismiss charges where he is accused of extorting sportswear brand Nike.

Reuters reported that the case against Avenatti was allowed to move forward just one day after he was arrested for violating the terms of his bail in an unrelated matter in California.

Avenatti argued that the charges against him were politically motivated because of his history of representing porn star Stormy Daniels— who claimed to have had an affair with President Donald Trump.

The judge discovered there was no evidence that the Justice Department’s prosecution of Avenatti for the Nike extortion case had anything to do with his representation of Daniels.

“Avenatti is being prosecuted for activities wholly unrelated to the political arena,” the judge wrote.

The disgraced attorney faces charges in New York for attempting to extort the sportswear brand by threatening to publicize claims by his client that Nike paid families of college basketball recruits improperly.

The one time lawyer for Daniels allegedly asked Nike to pay him $15 million to $25 million to conduct an investigation, or he would go public with the claims.

Avenatti, a one time 2020 presidential candidate and Trump critic, is also accused of stealing $300,000 from Daniels while representing her, and faces charges of bank fraud and making a false testimony on behalf of his own firm.

Daniels, with the help of Avenatti, unsuccessfully sued Trump for defamation and made the argument that Trump harmed her reputation by denying that he had an affair with her.


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