Michael Avenatti’s extortion trial could unveil more salacious information in the ongoing investigation into how college basketball has been influenced by shoe companies.
Scheduled to stand trial Jan. 21 in the Southern District of New York, Avenatti is charged with attempted extortion of Nike for allegedly threatening to reveal how the company moved money through the grassroots EYBL basketball league.
In preparation of the trial, Avenatti’s defense is trying to expose as much criminal behavior as possible by Nike. The former coach Avenatti represented, Gary Franklin, compiled 16 recordings of telephone conversations with Nike officials from the EYBL circuit. A Yahoo report explains what could be contained in the recordings.
The details of the recordings are currently unknown. However, an email between Franklin and Jeffrey Auerbach, who is described as Franklin’s “advisor/consultant,” contains passages where Auerbach summarizes one of the recordings.
“Gary listened [sic] to the tape. This guy is something else,” the email from Auerbach reads, not identifying who the “guy” is. “He and Carlton come into your house, your program, which you’ve been running long before they ever got to Nike, and give you a directive you can’t refuse (so why even ask?) and inject criminal elements and behavior …”
The information in the recordings could potentially tie Nike payments to elite players and prestigious college basketball programs. That’s a big if. Throughout the college basketball federal trials judges have limited the scope of what is admissible in court. The judge is expected to make a ruling on the recordings before the trial begins in two weeks.