Michael Avenatti Gets 30-Month Prison Sentence for Nike Extortion Attempt

Embattled lawyer Michael Avenatti has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in an extortion attempt of Nike. Find the full story here.

Michael Avenatti

Image via Getty/Scott Olson

Michael Avenatti

Michael Avenatti, the embattled lawyer best known for representing adult actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against Donald Trump, is headed to prison for his attempted Nike extortion.

According to The Associated Press, Avenatti has been sentenced two two-and-a-half years in prison for trying to extort up to $25 million from the American sportswear company.

The sentencing stems from the controversial lawyer’s 2019 attempts to defame the brand with claims he had evidence Nike had bribed recruits to attend their universities. Players alleged by Avenatti to have been connected to the bribes included Zion Williamson, DeAndre Ayton, and Bol Bol. Avenatti would continue tweeting similar threats and making claims to the media before being indicted for the extortion attempt in May of that year

The sentencing was handed down today in Manhattan by US District Judge Paul G. Gardephe. Prosecutors argued that the lawyer was “weaponizing his public profile” in attempt to force Nike to comply. A Nike lawyer said Avenatti’s false claims caused considerable harm to the company. 

“I’ll take $10 billion of your client’s market cap…I’m not fucking around.” Avenatti was alleged to have told a Nike attorney in 2019 during the ongoing extortion attempt. 

Nike was quick to refute Avenatti’s story. “Nike will not be extorted or hide information that is relevant to a government investigation,” the company said in a March 2019 statement. “Nike firmly believes in ethical and fair play, both in business and sports, and will continue to assist the prosecutors.” 

In addition to today’s sentencing, there were reports that Nike was seeking $1 million in restitution, with Avenatti’s representation arguing that no financial loss was incurred. There’s no word yet on if the restitution was granted. 

Avenatti was found guilty in February of 2020, later being released from jail while awaiting sentencing due to COVID-19 concerns.