Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, who was convicted of trying to extort over $20 million from Nike, was temporarily released from a federal jail in New York City due to concerns over the coronavirus, authorities said Saturday.
Avenatti has to report back to jail in 90 days, U.S. District Judge James Selna stated in his order.
The former lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels was found guilty in February of trying to extort Nike. According to court papers, Avenatti and an uncharged conspirator threatened to hold a press conference to ruin the sportswear giant's reputation unless the company agreed to pay him and his client millions of dollars.
In a recorded call obtained by the FBI, Avenatti was heard pressuring the company to pay the money. Prosecutors said that he wanted Nike to pay his client $1.5 million and to give him and his co-conspirator $15 million to $25 million to conduct an "internal investigation" for the company. At the time of the scheme, Avenatti was allegedly more than $11 million in debt.
He pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer said Avenatti was simply pursuing an honest negotiation with the brand on behalf of his client.
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