Michael Avenatti's lawyers told jurors in a closing argument that the combative California attorney was following a client's wishes when he threatened to expose Nike's role in a college basketball scandal.
Attorneys Scott and Howard Srebnick, attacked the credibility of two of the government's main witnesses Tuesday.
They told a Manhattan federal court jury that a California amateur basketball coach and his adviser said they wanted Avenatti to force changes at Nike that would eliminate corruption.
The arguments came after a prosecutor played profanity-laced recorded conversations in which Avenatti threatened Nike lawyers that he'd damage the value of the company's stock unless he was paid millions of dollars.
The prosecutor called it extortion.