Jury deliberations start in Michael Avenatti extortion trial

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jury deliberations began Wednesday in California lawyer Michael Avenatti's extortion trial.

Jurors worked quietly for several hours before telling a judge in a note that they needed clarification as to what evidence pertained to the first of two attempted extortion charges.

Deliberations were set to resume Thursday morning though they were expected to be interrupted for an hour or two while one juror goes to a job interview.

Avenatti has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging that he tried to extort up to $25 million from Nike by threatening to publicly expose corruption at Nike unless he was allowed to conduct an internal probe of the company.

Prosecutors say he had more than $11 million in debts at the time.

Avenatti's lawyers have argued that he was doing an honest and legal negotiation with the shoemaker on behalf of an amateur basketball coach who wanted Nike to clean up its act.

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