Last February, attorney Michael Avenatti was convicted of all three counts in his trial for trying to extort Nike. Today prosecutors suggested a “substantial” prison sentence was called for, maybe something around 8 years.
Prosecutors noted in a Manhattan federal court submission that Probation Office officials recommend an eight-year prison term for the California attorney who gained fame three years ago through his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels against then-President Donald Trump.
“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…
In a victim impact statement, Nike’s lawyers wrote that Avenatti did considerable harm to the company when he followed through on threats to cause Nike billions of dollars in losses by falsely alleging in a tweet prior to his arrest that criminal conduct at the company reached the “highest levels.” Nike’s stock price immediately dropped a dollar, representing $300 million, they said.
Last week, Avenatti’s lawyers argued that a six month sentence followed by a year of home confinement would be enough. They tried to play on the sympathy of the court saying their client “cannot go anywhere in public without inducing and subjecting himself to vitriolic comments and abuse.” Poor guy.
So maybe an effort to split the difference will result in a sentence of 4-5 years. Prosecutors are also asking the judge to force Avenatti to pay $1 million worth of legal fees that Nike allegedly spent defending itself.
But the real story here is the one mentioned in passing above. Avenatti weaponized his “large public following” in an effort to extort Nike. He wouldn’t have been in a position to do that if he didn’t have the large public following in the first place. And why did he have that following? Does anyone remember? Apparently CNN doesn’t want to remember. They don’t have anything about this story on their homepage as of now.
But as we all know, Avenatti had that following thanks largely to CNN and MSNBC who lavished him with media attention as part of their resistance journalism effort. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a supercut the Washington Free Beacon created last year when Avenatti was convicted. Just look at them slobbering all over this guy.
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) February 14, 2020
Whatever he gets in this sentencing, it’s really just the start. Avenatti has two more trials coming up, one in California later this year and one early next year in Manhattan where he will face former client Stormy Daniels. There’s every reason to think he has more convictions and more sentencing to come. The hero of the resistance really could wind up spending a decade in prison.