Thursday 13 December 2018

Trump’s personal attorney wants Stormy Daniels’ lawyer gagged

Michael Cohen says Michael Avenatti has been tainting the case with a ‘publicity tour’.

Stormy Daniels with her lawyer Michael Avenatti (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Stormy Daniels with her lawyer Michael Avenatti (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

By Michael Balsamo

Donald Trump’s personal attorney has asked a federal judge to sign a gagging order to stop porn actress Stormy Daniels’ lawyer from speaking to reporters and releasing information about the case to the public.

In a court filing in Los Angeles, an attorney for Michael Cohen — the president’s personal lawyer — argued that Michael Avenatti, who is representing Daniels, has been tainting the case with a “publicity tour” that has included more than 100 television interview since March.

Mr Cohen’s lawyer Brent Blakely argued that Mr Avenatti is “mainly driven by his seemingly unquenchable thirst for publicity”.

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Michael Cohen wants a judge to sign a restraining order (Seth Wenig/AP)

Mr Blakely argued in court documents that Mr Avenatti’s behaviour, including almost daily tweets about Mr Cohen, is unethical, threatens his client’s ability to have a fair trial and is turning the case into a “media circus”.

He wants a judge to sign a restraining order that would prohibit Mr Avenatti from speaking to reporters or publicly releasing details about the case.

He said the “malicious attacks on Mr Cohen must be stopped in its tracks”.

Mr Avenatti called Mr Blakely’s request a “complete joke” and said he would vehemently oppose it.

“The only unethical lawyers in this case are Mr Cohen and his lawyer Mr Blakely. They want to hide the truth from the American people because Mr Cohen and Mr Blakely believe that conspiracy and cover-up are acceptable. They want the cover-up to continue,” he told the Associated Press.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex with Mr Trump in 2006 when he was married. He has denied it.

Daniels is suing Mr Trump and Mr Cohen and is seeking to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 presidential election.

She argues the agreement should be nullified because Mr Cohen signed it, but the president did not.

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Stormy Daniels is suing Mr Trump and Mr Cohen (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Mr Cohen had sought to delay the legal fight after his home and office were raided by the FBI in April.

The agents were seeking records about the non-disclosure agreement, among other things.

A federal judge agreed in April to delay the case for 90 days after Mr Cohen argued that the criminal investigation overlapped with issues in the lawsuit and his right against self-incrimination would be adversely affected because he would not be able to respond and defend himself.

Mr Avenatti has asked the court to reconsider the delay, force Mr Trump to answer questions under oath and allow him to obtain documents in the lawsuit.

The president’s lawyers said they would oppose that request and a hearing is set for later this month.

Press Association

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