Coronavirus crisis gives lawyer Michael Avenatti, awaiting sentence in $25M Nike extortion case, temporary taste of freedom

Michael Avenatti outside Manhattan Federal Court in October.
Michael Avenatti outside Manhattan Federal Court in October.

The coronavirus pandemic gave disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti a temporary get-out-of-jail-free card.
The 49-year-old former attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels received approval Friday for a 90-day release to stay with a pal in Los Angeles, with several caveats.
Avenatti filed a request last month for home confinement over fears that he was at high risk to contract coronavirus if kept inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan.
According to Avenatti, his health was endangered after a recent diagnosis of pneumonia — and then again when his cellmate was taken away for treatment of flu-like symptoms.
California Federal Judge James Selna ordered Avenatti to undergo coronavirus testing and spend two weeks in quarantine at a federal Bureau of Prisons facility before he can move in with friend Jay Mannheimer in a home near Venice Beach.
Avenatti, who made a huge media splash while working for Daniels, must also post $1 million bond and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Once out of quarantine, he’s also forbidden from using any digital devices with internet access.
Avenatti, awaiting a June sentencing for attempted extortion of $25 million from global sportswear giant Nike, also faces upcoming trials in New York and Los Angeles for defrauding and cheating clients — including Daniels, whose lawsuit against President Trump catapulted her attorney into the spotlight and made him a fixture on television news shows.

He faces a maximum term of 42 years in prison for two counts of extortion and one count of honest services fraud in the Nike case.

Avenatti was nearly $11 million in debt when he took the case of a do-gooder trying to expose alleged cash payoffs from Nike to the families of prominent youth basketball stars. But Avenatti went rogue with his demands for a massive payoff from the sneaker giant.

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