Michael Avenatti’s “true character” was exposed following a Manhattan jury’s guilty verdict Friday, said his former client, Stormy Daniels.
“Sadly, it appears what Michael Avenatti did to me was just the tip of an iceberg of deceit,” wrote Daniels, who accused him of stealing $300,000 from her and also forging her signature, according to the New York Post.
“I am not surprised his dishonesty has been revealed on a grand scale. His arrogant, fraudulent and overly aggressive behavior became so pervasive that the jury found his true character,” she stated.
Friday, Avenatti was convicted of attempting to extort Nike by threatening to use his media access to hurt the company’s reputation and stock price unless it paid him up to $25 million, according to the Associated Press.
The report stated:
The convictions for attempted extortion and honest services fraud carry a combined potential penalty of 42 years in prison.
Avenatti glared at the jurors as the verdict was being announced but said nothing. Afterward, he shook hands with his lawyers and told them “great job” before he was led back to the cell where he has been held since a judge found he had violated his bail conditions.
His lawyer, Scott Srebnick, said he would appeal the conviction but otherwise declined to comment. A judge set sentencing for June.
At the trial, Avenatti did not testify but his lawyers claimed he had been following the instructions of an amateur youth basketball league director, who asked him to force the company to fire “corrupt” executives and “fix” its culture, CBS Los Angeles reported.
“Prosecutors argued Avenatti was over $15 million in debt when he tried to extort up to $25 million from Nike, while Avenatti’s lawyers said the money he legally requested to conduct an internal probe of the sportswear giant was a bargain,” the article read.
However, Avenatti reportedly said that “any claim that I was $15 million in debt is ridiculous, absurd and laughable.”
The case alleged that he attempted to extort Nike because he had evidence that company employees “funneled illegal payments to top high school basketball prospects and their families,” the report concluded.