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The bulldog lawyer, who rose to prominence through his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Trump, has spent the last 10 days in solitary confinement at the hellish Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan. Federal prosecutors on both sides of the country say he’s a rogue attorney who screwed over clients to cover his ballooning debt of $15 million.
Jury selection begins in the first of three cases against Avenatti on Monday in Manhattan Federal Court. Avenatti is charged with crossing the line from legal advocate to extortionist by demanding more than $20 million from Nike in March of last year. If the shoe giant didn’t comply, Avenatti threatened to use his media megaphone to tell the world that Nike execs secretly paid college basketball prospects, prosecutors say.
The hyper-aggressive attorney was ostensibly representing a whistleblower in the youth basketball world — but prosecutors say Avenatti wanted the money for himself.
“It is a case about what you can and can’t do in settlements and it’s a case about Avenatti. That makes it doubly interesting,” said Shechtman, who recently represented jails union boss Norman Seabrook in a bribery case.
The Nike extortion case has ensnared Mark Geragos, a well-known celebrity attorney in Los Angeles who has represented Winona Ryder, Michael Jackson and Colin Kaepernick. Avenatti says Geragos was co-counsel in the troubled negotiations with the shoe company. Geragos has distanced himself from Avenatti, claiming he didn’t approve of his tactics.
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