• Avenatti faces more charges in California including tax evasion
  • Avenatti was convicted of demanding as much as $25 million for himself to conduct an internal corruption investigation at Nike
  • Attorneys for Nike recorded their meetings with Avenatti and the recordings were played in court

A federal court jury in New York on Friday convicted attorney Michael Avenatti on charges he tried to extort more than $20 million from Nike.

Avenatti, who gained national attention as the attorney for porn actress Stormy Daniels, faces a federal indictment in California related to his business practices, taxes and personal finances. He also is accused of stealing Daniels’ book advance.

Avenatti is being held at the Manhattan federal detention center.

“That is what extortion sounds like,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Podolsky said in closing arguments Wednesday, calling it a “shake down … to line his own pockets, to try to pay off his debts.”

Avenatti was convicted of threatening to expose what he described as corruption at Nike regarding high school basketball players. The defense argued their client was just employing tough negotiating tactics.

The case involved a series of meetings last March that were recorded by Nike attorneys during which Avenatti threatened to expose secret payments to the families of top high school basketball prospects. At the time, Nike was cooperating in a federal investigation of corruption in college basketball.

The government said he took information provided by a client, youth basketball coach Gary Franklin, and used it to his own advantage. Franklin hired Avenatti to get Nike to renew its sponsorship of his program and to get two Nike executives fired.

Nike executives testified Avenatti demanded $1.5 million for Franklin and a guarantee of as much as $25 million for himself to conduct an internal corruption investigation.

"The only way to root out corruption, the only way to dismiss employees for corruption is an internal investigation," argued Howard Srebnick, one of Avenatti’s defense attorneys. "He was on a mission for his client. He was on a mission to achieve the goals of his client, and again he would be paid along the way."