In a significant legal development, a U.S. jury delivered a guilty verdict on Friday in the criminal trial of Michael Avenatti. The renowned celebrity lawyer faced charges of attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike Inc and defraud a youth basketball coach he represented.

Jurors in Manhattan federal court deliberated for 2-1/2 days before reaching their decision regarding Avenatti, a prominent attorney whose rise to fame began just two years ago when he took on the representation of adult film actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against U.S. President Donald Trump, subsequently making hundreds of television appearances.

Avenatti, aged 48, who followed the trial closely, sat facing the jurors as the verdict was announced. He now faces the possibility of more than 40 years in prison, with his sentencing scheduled for June 17.

Avenatti’s lawyer, Scott Srebnick, stated, «Of course, there will be an appeal, yes,» when addressing reporters after the verdict.

This guilty verdict is not the end of Avenatti’s legal troubles, as he faces additional criminal trials in Manhattan this spring. These trials relate to charges of defrauding Stormy Daniels out of book contract proceeds and defrauding several other clients while allegedly lying to the Internal Revenue Service.

Avenatti has been in custody in Manhattan since January 17, following allegations of violating his bail conditions.

Following the verdict, Avenatti shook hands with and received a pat on the back from members of his legal team before being escorted away by a court officer.

The charges leading to Avenatti’s conviction involved his attempt to extort Nike by threatening to hold a press conference to disclose allegations of illegal payments made by the sports apparel company to families of college basketball recruits. Prosecutors argued that Avenatti demanded up to $25 million from Nike, which included funds for an internal probe, as well as $1.5 million for the coach, Gary Franklin.

Additionally, Avenatti was convicted of defrauding Franklin by not disclosing his demand for a probe before reaching a settlement. Prosecutors contended that Avenatti sought a significant payday to address his own debts, which amounted to at least $11 million.

Avenatti’s trial featured multiple recordings of his negotiations with Nike’s lawyers. Gary Franklin, the coach involved, testified for the prosecution, stating that he did not want a probe or press conference.

In response to the verdict, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman stated, «The jury clearly saw the defendant’s scheme for what it was – an old-fashioned shakedown.»

Nike has consistently denied any wrongdoing throughout the legal proceedings.

Avenatti’s defense argued that he had acted in good faith and carried out actions that aligned with what Gary Franklin desired.

Notably, Avenatti did not take the stand during his trial, as the presiding judge ruled that prosecutors could question him about his dealings with other clients, without explicitly mentioning the criminal charges.

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