Three quick thoughts on celebrity lawyer’s verdict…
Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti was convicted by a Manhattan jury Friday of extorting Nike for tens of millions of dollars, the first resolution in a host of federal charges that Avenatti is battling in California and New York.
According to Quartz, Avenatti faces over 330 years of prison time for all charges against him, with the maximum sentence in the Nike case being 47 years. Although that sentence will probably be reduced, he will likely be disbarred and no longer able to practice law.
My initial reaction to this headline was along the lines of “whoa – really?” I mean, famous lawyer. White collar. Etc. Also white. These people can machete nuns in the middle of the street and not go to jail for 47 years, right?
But: 47 years is the maximum. The minimum is probably something like a $35 fine and court costs. Stay tuned.
On the other hand: Avenatti got famous for representing Stormy Daniels in her legal campaign against der Gropenführer, who is now personally in charge of all court cases involving his good friends and/or Enemies of the People®. So maybe 330 years is back on the table.
The big lesson, though, is this: Avenatti broke the first rule of white collar crime club – thou shalt not fuck with the rich and powerful. If a person or entity can afford Senators and House reps you’re best off aiming a little lower.
If he’d shaken down little old ladies for their social security checks or cleaned out a retirement fund we wouldn’t be here. He could have pleaded down to double parking, done and done.
But no, he fucked with NIKE, and Nike-sized money assures you that the authorities will take transgressions against your horde seriously.
Thou shalt not fuck with Money. Go ask Bernie Madoff about that one.
I wish I’d been on the jury, though. Avenatti may be a bubbling tub of anaerobic grease but in my book ripping off companies with Nike’s history of labor practices isn’t a crime…