just do it
February 14, 2020

Michael Avenatti is having a different kind of 2020 than he once teased.

Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her case against President Trump and once mulled a 2020 presidential run, has been found guilty of trying to extort Nike, CNBC reports. A jury on Friday convicted Avenatti on all three counts: attempted extortion, honest-services fraud, and the transmission of interstate communications with the intent to extort, per Axios.

Prosecutors in March 2019 announced Avenatti had been charged after he allegedly demanded Nike pay him up to $25 million or he would hold a press conference revealing damaging information about the company. During the trial, prosecutors played a tape of Avenatti speaking to Nike representatives and threatening to "blow the lid," with Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Podolsky saying, "This is what extortion sounds like," NBC News reports. Avenatti pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers said he was acting "in good faith" on behalf of the youth basketball coach he was representing.

This isn't the end of the road for Avenatti, as CNN notes he's also facing two other trials for allegedly stealing Daniels' book advance as well as, in California, allegedly defrauding several clients out of millions of dollars. According to NBC News, both of those cases are set to go to trial this spring. Brendan Morrow

July 2, 2019

Nike decided at the last minute to pull a new sneaker featuring the "Betsy Ross flag" after Colin Kaepernick raised concerns, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The shoe, which featured an early American flag from the 1770s with 13 stars for the 13 colonies, had already been shipped to stores and was set to go on sale for the Fourth of July this week. But the Journal reports the company pulled the sneaker, asking retailers to return them, after Kaepernick privately argued to Nike officials that the Betsy Ross flag is an "offensive symbol" due to its association with slavery.

Kaepernick hadn't been the only one to raise that point, though. The sneaker had also drawn criticism on social media for the same reason, BuzzFeed News reports, noting that the flag has been used by white nationalists.

Nike in a statement to the Journal confirmed it pulled the shoe because it "featured the old version of the American flag," although it did not comment on Kaepernick's reported role in the decision. The former quarterback, who in 2016 kickstarted a protest against racial inequality by kneeling during the National Anthem, last year partnered with Nike for an ad campaign. "Believe in something," Kaepernick's ad said. "Even if it means sacrificing everything." Kaepernick has not confirmed The Wall Street Journal's report. Brendan Morrow

September 5, 2018

Nike has released its first full-length commercial featuring Colin Kaepernick.

In the spot, which was released on YouTube on Wednesday, Kaepernick encourages viewers to dream big and "crazy," highlighting the stories of a number of inspiring athletes like LeBron James, Serena Williams, and Shaquem Griffin. While standing in front of a waving American flag projected onto the side of a building, Kaepernick then says, "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything."

The phrase appeared on an ad posted Monday on Twitter, in the company's announcement that it would be teaming up with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback for its latest "Just Do It" campaign. The phrase is the only reference, albeit an oblique one, to Kaepernick's activism and the ensuing fallout. Kaepernick is currently in the middle of suing the NFL, alleging that the league's owners have colluded to keep him from being hired after he pioneered football players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racism.

Nike's new Kaepernick ad will air on NBC during Thursday night's NFL season opener, per The Hollywood Reporter. For now, you can watch it via Nike's YouTube channel below. Brendan Morrow

March 1, 2017

In a letter to the Senate Finance Committee sent Wednesday, seven Democratic senators asked that the panel review President Trump's tax returns, urging chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to request documents from the U.S. Treasury that would shed light on his financials and any conflicts of interest.

Trump refuses to release his tax returns, claiming he is under audit and has been told not to share any forms. Democrats say that those documents could show if Trump's business dealings pose any conflicts of interest, and lawmakers should be able to review them and then decide if they can be released to the public, Reuters reports.

On Thursday, Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to send a similar bipartisan letter, signed by 140 Democrats and Republicans, to Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady. Hatch and Brady already responded to the letter from the Senate, saying Democrats are asking for something that is an "abuse of the tax-writing committees' statutory authority," and it would set "a dangerous precedent." Catherine Garcia

January 17, 2017

Donald Trump was adamant at his first press conference in months last week that "the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters," but a new ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 74 percent of respondents think he should release his tax records.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the respondents who most ardently believe Trump should release his tax returns are supporters of his vanquished election rival Hillary Clinton; 94 percent of Clinton supporters said Trump should make his tax returns public, compared to just 49 percent of Trump's own supporters. Of people who supported someone other than Trump or Clinton in the election — or who supported no one at all — 83 percent thought Trump should release his records.

Overall, 41 percent say they "care a lot" about the returns being released. When it comes to ethics, 43 percent said they think Trump, his family, and advisers are complying with federal ethics laws, while 44 percent think they aren't. Overall, 52 percent say his plan to continue owning his businesses while placing them in a trust managed by his eldest sons is sufficient, and 42 percent say he should sell his businesses.

The poll was produced by Langer Research Associates, and the full results will be released Tuesday morning. It was conducted by landline and cellphone Jan. 12 to 15 among a random sampling of 1,005 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, with partisan divisions of 31-23-37 percent Democrats, Republicans, independents.

Editor's note: This article originally mischaracterized a portion of the poll's findings. It has since been corrected. We regret the error. Catherine Garcia

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