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Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti will appeal sentence and conviction in Nike extortion case

Michael Avenatti, attorney and founding partner of Eagan Avenatti LP, arrives to federal court in Santa Ana, California, U.S., on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

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Once-prominent attorney Michael Avenatti said on Thursday that he will appeal his sentence and conviction for the attempted extortion of Nike.

Avenatti, who gained fame representing the porn actress Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against then-President Donald Trump, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for the Nike scheme earlier this month. Avenatti was convicted of attempting to extort Nike for up to $25 million by threatening to reveal purportedly damaging information about the company.

An attorney for Avenatti, Scott Srebnick, filed a document with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York indicating that Avenatti will challenge the sentence, in addition to the underlying conviction. The appeal will also cover pretrial, trial, and post-trial orders in the case. Avenatti is appealing the case to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New York.

Srebnick did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and it was not clear from the filing on what legal basis Avenatti intends to base his claim.

The notice of appeal comes as Avenatti faces obstacles from multiple directions.

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A separate case in California federal court is now under way over allegations that Avenatti swindled clients out of almost $10 million. Another trial, over allegations of tax fraud and other crimes, is set to take place in California later this year. Avenatti is also facing charges that he defrauded Daniels out of money she was supposed to receive as part of a book deal.

The appeal comes despite Avenatti, 50, appearing to take responsibility for attempting to extort Nike during sentencing in the case.

“I alone have destroyed my career, my relationships and my life. And there is no doubt I need to pay,” he told District Judge Paul Gardephe, adding that he was “truly sorry.”

Avenatti is defending himself in the California trial. He has said he made the unusual choice to forego professional representation because he wants “the truth to be known.”

It is not clear who will represent Avenatti in his New York appeal. Srebnick will not defend Avenatti on appeal, the document filed Thursday says.

Avenatti, who became a fixture on cable news shows and left-leaning opinion programs during his battle with Trump, was at one point considering a run for the Democratic nomination for president.

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