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‘Aged Like a Fine Wine’: Trump Jr. Has the Last Laugh After Avenatti Guilty Verdict

It’s Feb. 2020 and the eldest son of the President of the United States hasn’t been indicted, but the guy who predicted he would be has been found guilty of extorting Nike.

Donald Trump Jr. called attention to a Michael Avenatti prediction from Oct. 11, 2018: “Donald Trump Jr. will be indicted before his birthday on 12-31-18. If you doubt my prediction, please check my record over the last 7 months.”

Trump Jr. responded by saying the tweet “Aged like a fine wine,” adding the Avenatti hashtag #basta. It is not the first time Trump Jr. has celebrated Avenatti’s demise.

Avenatti was found guilty Friday on all counts against him in the Nike extortion case against him in New York. How the feds described the shakedown scheme:

In a March 20, 2019 telephone call with Nike’s counsel, Avenatti reiterated that he expected to “get a million five for [client, Gary Franklin]” and to be “hired to handle the internal investigation,” for which he demanded a “multimillion dollar retainer” in exchange for not holding a press conference. According to Avenatti, “3 or 5 or 7 million dollars” would not be sufficient for his retainer. Unless Nike agreed to a larger retainer, Avenatti would hold a press conference that would “take ten billion dollars off [Nike’s] market cap” Avenatti also stated that “he expected to be paid more than $9 million.” At end of the call, Avenatti agreed to meet with Nike’s lawyers the next day.

According to a recent motion letter filed in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Avenatti made internet searches for information on “Nike put options” and “insider trading” on March 10, 2019–weeks before he was indicted for extortion.

As Law&Crime reported earlier Friday, the worst could be yet to come for Avenatti, given the apparent strength of the California case against him. In California, Avenatti faces charges for alleged bank fraud, wire fraud, embezzlement, tax crimes and lying under oath in a bankruptcy proceeding.

All of this is to say that Avenatti is facing years of prison time, even without a conviction in the California case.

Avenatti predicted on multiple occasions that Trump Jr. would be indicted as part of the Mueller probe. First, he said it would happen before the end of 2018. Avenatti doubled down after that didn’t happen and indicated there were “sealed indictments.”

“I don’t just pop off and make bold predictions without knowing what I am talking about. The last 8 months has proven that time and time again,” Avenatti told Law&Crime in Nov. 2018.

More recently, Avenatti told us that he expected to be “fully exonerated” in the Nike case. That has not happened. It’s not clear at this time if he plans to appeal.

Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.

[Image via Scott Olson/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.