Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer threw the perfect shade towards disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti on Friday. Avenatti, who gained notoriety when he represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal cases against President Donald Trump, was found guilty of trying to extort almost $2.5 million from Nike Friday. Avenatti once made fun of Holzhauer for not knowing his name on Jeopardy!, but Holzhauer got the last laugh.
Good news! I learned your name today! https://t.co/ofDVqF74Oe— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) February 14, 2020
Back in November 2019, Avenatti tweeted a list of answers Holzhauer got wrong on Jeopardy!, including his own name. Holzhauer dug up the old tweet in light of today's news, adding, "Good news! I learned your name today!"
Prosecutors accused Avenatti of trying to blackmail Nike out of millions of dollars. He threatened to release alleged evidence that the sports brand bribed amateur basketball players and their families, unless Nike paid him. According to prosecutors, Avenatti warned Nike's attorney the allegations would "take ten billion dollars off your client’s" stock market capitalization, reports CNBC. Avenatti claimed he was representing basketball coach Gary Franklin, who later testified that he was not aware of Avenatti's plan.
The motive was Avenatti's desperation to get out of personal debt that reached $11 million, prosecutors said.
Avenatti was found guilty of extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort and wire fraud charges. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail, and will be sentenced on June 17.
"While the defendant may have tried to hide behind legal terms and a suit and tie, the jury clearly saw the defendant’s scheme for what it was — an old fashioned shakedown," Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.
Avenatti is in the middle of two other cases. He is also charged with stealing $300,000 Daniels earned from her book Full Disclosure. In California, prosecutors accused him of defrauding clients, tax crimes and perjury.
Just before the 2016 presidential election, Trump's then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair Trump had with her. Trump denied the allegations, but evidence showed he did reimburse Cohen.
Avenatti represented Daniels when she went public and in the legal fallout of her claims. Their relationship quickly turned sour though and Daniels said Friday she was not surprised by his dishonesty in the Nike case.
"Sadly, it appears what Michael Avenatti did to me was just the tip of an iceberg of deceit. I am not surprised his dishonesty has been revealed on a grand scale," Daniels wrote on Instagram. "His arrogant, fraudulent and overly aggressive behavior became so pervasive that the jury found his true character. Although clearly a just result, I do feel sad for his children and foolish for believing his lies for so long."
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