NEW YORK (Reuters) – Michael Avenatti was once bent on a immense payday when he demanded hundreds of hundreds of greenbacks for himself from Nike Inc, a federal prosecutor advised jurors on Wednesday in his opening argument at the extortion trial of the movie critical particular person authorized legit and prominent critic of U.S. President Donald Trump.

FILE PHOTO: Licensed legit Michael Avenatti speaks to the media commence air United States Court docket within the Huge apple borough of Recent York City, Recent York, U.S., July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Portray

However a authorized legit for Avenatti countered that the search files from was once simply section of negotiations on behalf of Avenatti’s client, Gary Franklin, a basketball coach in a Nike-subsidized childhood basketball league, and that Avenatti couldn’t be held criminally liable.

“It’s proper. Mr. Avenatti is brash,” his authorized legit Howard Srebnick advised the six-man, six-girl jury in Huge apple federal court docket. “Tenacious, bullish, hard charging … At cases he’ll be offensive. However that’s no longer what we build other folks in penal complex for.”

Avenatti was once charged with threatening to publicize his client’s accusations that Nike illegally paid households of college basketball recruits, except the apparel company paid $15 million to $25 million for him and movie critical particular person authorized legit Put Geragos to behavior an internal probe, and paid Franklin $1.5 million.

Prosecutors also charged Avenatti with defrauding Franklin by concealing a settlement provide from Nike, so that Avenatti would possibly possibly presumably watch hundreds of hundreds for himself.

Nike has denied wrongdoing. The trial would possibly possibly presumably final 2-1/2 weeks, and Avenatti would possibly possibly presumably face extra than 40 years in penal complex if convicted.

Avenatti turned renowned representing adult movie actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump, and Srebnick and Assistant U.S. Licensed legit Robert Sobelman talked about each in their opening arguments.

Sobelman advised jurors that Avenatti leveraged his fame to “shake down” Nike and “line his rep pockets,” in section because of this of he had extensive cash owed and his legislation company was once struggling financially.

The prosecutor advised jurors they’d hear recordings made at Nike’s behest of Avenatti making his demands.

“Why did the defendant attain what he did? Easy. Money,” Sobelman stated.

Srebnick countered that Avenatti was once simply combating for “a client who wished justice” by exposing corruption in childhood basketball, and who wished a high-profile authorized legit to lend a hand him.

“He had a platform to repeat what came about at Nike,” Srebnick stated, pointing several cases at his client.

Avenatti appeared in jurors’ path for virtually all of Srebnick’s argument. Most enthusiastic on Srebnick.

Later this year, Avenatti faces separate criminal trials in Huge apple for allegedly defrauding Daniels out of e book contract proceeds, and in California for defrauding other customers.

Avenatti was once jailed and had bail revoked after his Jan. 14 arrest for an alleged bail violation within the California case. He is entertaining the revocation.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in Recent York; Enhancing by Matthew Lewis

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