August 15, 2019 / 12:57 PM / a month ago

Lawyer Avenatti seeks to end 'vindictive' prosecution in New York

NEW YORK, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Michael Avenatti, the lawyer and critic of U.S. President Donald Trump, has asked a federal judge to dismiss an indictment accusing him of trying to extort Nike Inc, saying he was targeted in a “vindictive and selective prosecution.”

Avenatti made his request in filings on Wednesday night with the federal court in Manhattan. Prosecutors said he tried to extort more than $20 million from Nike by threatening to expose what he called its improper payments to recruits for college basketball teams it sponsored. Nike has denied wrongdoing.

The office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan did not immediately respond on Thursday to requests for comment.

Prosecutors in Manhattan also have accused Avenatti, 48, of stealing about $300,000 from porn star Stormy Daniels, the client who made him famous. Daniels received hush money to keep quiet about an affair she claimed to have had with Trump in 2006. The president has denied having had sex with Daniels.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York Editing by Bill Trott

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