legal battle publicity spree over the hush agreement between President Donald Trump‘s lawyer Michael Cohen and porn star Stormy Daniels will be stayed for 90 days to allow Trump’s lawyer to assert his Fifth Amendment rights.
As The Hollywood Reporter notes
Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen earlier this month asked U.S. District Judge James Otero to stay the matter after the FBI raided his office and home as part of a criminal investigation. The porn star, suing under her legal name Stephanie Clifford, wants to invalidate an agreement that bars her from talking about her alleged affair with Trump.
Cohen has admitted to personally paying her $130,000 as part of a settlement, and argues that because the facts underlying her civil case and those of the criminal investigation overlap, a stay is warranted. On Wednesday, he filed a declaration with the court indicating he would plead the fifth in Clifford’s lawsuit because of the ongoing investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney General for the Southern District of New York.
“[T]he significance of the FBI raid cannot be understated,” wrote Otero in his careful analysis. “This is no simple criminal investigation; it is an investigation into the personal attorney of a sitting President regarding documents that might be subject to the attorney-client privilege. Whether or not an indictment is forthcoming, and the Court thinks it likely based on these facts alone, these unique circumstances counsel in favor of stay.”
Otero reasoned that any deposition taken of Cohen would be “utterly useless” to the court if he fully invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege, and that his testimony is “indispensible” to the resolution of the lawsuit.
Hoist by her own petard
He also found that Daniels won’t be prejudiced by the stay, as she has already appeared on two nationally televised programs discussing the matter and “has not established that she has actually been deterred from speaking.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Cohen would be unduly prejudiced — and the public has an interest in ensuring the civil litigation doesn’t interfere with the criminal investigation.
The response by Daniels’ brash attorney, Michael Avenatti, was predictable.
Justice? LMAO Daniels is suing to be freed from the bounds of a nondisclosure agreement under which she was paid $130,000, and which she has violated innumerable times.
As for her appeal, the standard on a appeal is very unfavorable for Daniels and Avenatti, and I predict they will lose.
A status conference is currently set for July 27 (or, in Michael Avenatti terms, 14,288 TV interviews from today).
Read the court’s ruling below.