After U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero ordered a 3 month stay in Stormy Daniel’s lawsuit against Michael Cohen, her attorney, Michael Avenatti said they will appeal the decision. Cohen, the President’s lawyer, has told the court he plans on pleading his 5th amendment rights if asked any questions about the $130,000 payment made to Daniels.
While we certainly respect Judge Otero’s 90 day stay order based on Mr. Cohen’s pleading of the 5th, we do not agree with it. We will likely be filing an immediate appeal to the Ninth Circuit early next week. Justice delayed is justice denied. #basta
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 27, 2018
“The Court finds that there is a large potential factual overlap between the civil and criminal proceedings that would heavily implicate Mr. Cohen’s Fifth Amendment rights,” Otero wrote. “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.”
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan set in motion the raids conducted earlier this month pursuant to search warrants issued by a federal magistrate. The evidence used to obtain the warrants is under seal, but Otero said there was enough on the record to know that the probe has at least some focus on the payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
“While the exact scope and breadth of the criminal investigation remains unclear, both the government and Mr. Cohen have indicated that the subject matter of the criminal investigation, and the documents seized, in some part reference the $130,000 payment made to Ms. Clifford pursuant to the Agreement,” wrote Otero, an appointee of President George W. Bush.
The judge also called Cohen “the alleged mastermind” of the deal, making his testimony “indispensable.”
Avenatti also said Stormy may file a new suit in response to what the President tweeted last week.
From The Hill
“He called my client a con or suggested that she lied to the American people,” Avenatti said on CNN. “We may be bringing that claim shortly.”
The suggestion that Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is a liar was tweeted out by the President after an artist’s sketch of the man Stormy says threatened her and her infant daughter in 2011.
A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)! https://t.co/9Is7mHBFda
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
Why It Matters
Regular people can tweet whatever they want and it rarely gets them in trouble. Donald Trump is the President of the United States and his words matter – even in a tweet. Whatever you may think of Stormy Daniels, if she is telling the truth and offered, in good faith, the sketch of the man she says threatened her then the President calling her a liar is defaming her and she has a right to sue him for that action.
As far as Cohen winning the 90 day stay, that seems like a small comfort when the judge’s reasoning for granting it is that he is likely to be indicted in the criminal case.