Michael Avenatti claims alleged Nike extortion was free speech
Added 08-19-19 05:18:01pm EST - “Lightning-rod lawyer Michael Avenatti was merely exercising his First Amendment rights when he demanded $22.5 million from Nike ?" not extorting them, his attorneys argue in new court papers. “?” - Nypost.com
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Lightning-rod lawyer Michael Avenatti was merely exercising his First Amendment rights when he demanded $22.5 million from Nike — not extorting them, his attorneys argue in new court papers.
“Mr. Avenatti is being charged with a speech crime,” his attorneys Scott Srebnick and Jose Quinon wrote in yet another attempt to convince a Manhattan federal judge to toss his extortion charges. “Every one of the acts of speech attributed to Mr. Avenatti in the Indictment was independently lawful and independently protected by the First Amendment. He had the right to publicly expose truthful information about Nike’s misconduct.”
Avenatti was indicted earlier this year on charges that he allegedly tried to shake down the sportswear giant for more than $20 million while threatening to publicize a pay-to-play scheme within Nike — unless they hired him to conduct an internal investigation and forked over funds to his client, a former Nike staffer.
“He had the right to demand from Nike a settlement of his client’s claims, as attorneys do across the country every day,” the filing continues. “He had the right to demand a settlement on terms that may seem extraordinary to some, as is often the case when attorneys make opening settlement demands. He had the right to demand attorney’s fees for himself as part of the overall settlement of his client’s claims. And, Nike had no inherent right to be free from exposure of its own misconduct.”
Monday’s motion follows a similar letter from the Avenatti camp last week, in which he insists he’s being persecuted by the Trump Administration for his vocal criticism of the president and representation of Trump’s mistress, adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
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