An attorney for celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti on Wednesday said the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Nike.
The attorney, Howard Srebnick, made the claim in his opening statement in a criminal trial in which federal prosecutors allege Avenatti tried to extort Nike. The trial is being held in the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.
“You will also find out that the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, since Avenatti was arrested and all this became public, have opened an SEC investigation of Nike,” Srebnick said, according to a transcript of opening arguments.
The prosecutor is not impressed:
“Like all lawyers, (Avenatti) was supposed to look out for his client. Instead, he sold out his client and threatened to harm a major company. All to line his own pockets. How did he do that? Extortion and fraud,” Sobelman said.
“The scheme is simple: Pay me and I’ll keep quiet,” Sobelman said. “Don’t pay me, and I’ll hurt you.”
Sobelman did not dispute that evidence shows Nike steered payments to amateur basketball players.
Good for Nike – the players deserve to be paid, and if that pisses off the NCAA cartel even better.