The attorney for Michael Cohen Friday filed papers in Los Angeles federal court requesting that a judge reject a motion from Stormy Daniels’ lawyer seeking to lift the 90-day stay on the adult-film actress’ lawsuit against President Trump and his lawyer.
Brent Blakely’s opposition to Daniels’ May 24 motion comes over a month after U.S. District Judge S. James Otero agreed to put the lawsuit on hold at the request of Cohen, then Trump’s personal attorney, who claimed he would assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if questioned because of an ongoing criminal investigation against him in New York.
In the new filing, Blakely argued that Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, “improperly seeks to re-litigate the same issues the court decided against.”
Avenatti argued that recent statements made by Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, contradict Cohen’s case for seeking the temporary hold in the Daniels lawsuit.
The statements “call into question whether Mr. Cohen’s Fifth Amendment rights relating to the matters at issue in this case are as compelling as previously argued,” Avenatti wrote.
But Blakely now asserts that Trump and Giuliani’s public statements “have no bearing on the facts and circumstances” surrounding the stay and are “irrelevant.”
Cohen had told the court in a declaration that he could not testify in the lawsuit without breaching his Fifth Amendment right as a result of the ongoing criminal investigation of Cohen’s businesses in New York and a $130,000 “hush” payment to Daniels.
A hearing on the matter is set for June 21 in downtown Los Angeles.
Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — is suing Trump and Cohen, as well as the shell company Essential Consultants, seeking to nullify a 2016 non-disclosure agreement that attempted to prevent her from speaking out about her alleged affair with Trump. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence.
Daniels is hoping to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement she signed before the 2016 presidential election because, she argues, Trump never signed it.
Through White House officials, Trump has denied the affair, although Cohen has admitted paying Daniels $130,000 as part of the agreement. He initially said he used his own money to pay Daniels and was not reimbursed by Trump. However, Trump — who initially publicly denied knowledge of the payment — subsequently conceded that Cohen was reimbursed.
The lawsuit also accuses Cohen of defamation over comments he made about Daniels’ truthfulness. Daniels filed a separate defamation suit against Trump in New York, alleging the president libeled her by saying she lied about a man she said threatened her to force her to keep quiet about her alleged relationship with Trump.