Trump and Cohen to Seek Delay in Stormy Daniels Lawsuit
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Michael Cohen plan to ask a judge to delay the civil lawsuit filed by adult film actress Stormy Daniels because of a criminal investigation that led FBI agents to raid Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.
Trump and Cohen say the criminal case “implicates” Cohen’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination if he were questioned in the Daniels case, according to a filing in Los Angeles federal court.
“No decision has been made for Mr. Cohen to assert his Fifth Amendment rights,” Brent Blakely, a lawyer for Cohen, said in an email. “No questions have even been posed.”
Daniels sued to undo a non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2016 that she said was intended to silence her about a sexual encounter she had with Trump a decade earlier. Cohen has said that he paid $130,000 to Daniels out of his own pocket just before the presidential election and that he wasn’t reimbursed.
Daniels also claims she was defamed by a statement Cohen issued in February that made her sound like a liar.
In the Feb. 13 statement, Cohen said “just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage” in connection with the payment. According to Daniels, the statement harmed her reputation and exposed her to contempt, ridicule and shame.
Criminal investigations commonly lead to a stay in civil lawsuits because the proceedings could develop evidence that might put the defendant in legal jeopardy.
Daniels’s lawyer Michael Avenatti said he would oppose the delay, but agreed to allow the president and Cohen to make the request.
The judge agreed that Trump and Cohen must make their formal request by Friday.
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