Stormy Daniels’s Cohen Collusion Case Goes Back to State Court

(Bloomberg) -- Adult movie actress Stephanie Clifford won a small but important legal ruling that may expedite her lawsuit alleging that her ex-lawyer colluded with Donald Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen.

In a suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in June, Clifford, who’s known professionally as Stormy Daniels, alleged her former lawyer Keith Davidson “abdicated his role as an advocate” for her “and instead elected to be a puppet for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump.”

In 2016, Davidson negotiated Daniels’s $130,000 “hush payment” from Cohen not to discuss her alleged tryst with Trump a decade earlier. Cohen, who was also named as a defendant, got the case transferred to federal court in July.

In granting Clifford’s request to move the case back to state court, U.S. District Judge James Otero said in an order late Thursday there had been “clear gamesmanship” in moving the suit to federal court in an attempt to gain a legal advantage.

Michael Avenatti, Clifford’s lawyer, said the latest move “will allow us to proceed with discovery and a trial more expeditiously.”

“This is a blow to Michael Cohen,” Avenatti said in an email.

This suit followed a previous case Clifford filed against Trump and Cohen to get out from under the non-disclosure agreement. Cohen and Trump moved that case to federal court where a judge put it on hold because of an ongoing criminal investigation of Cohen.

Lawyers for Davidson and Cohen couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The case is Clifford v. Davidson, 18-cv-5052, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles)

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