Cohen Request To Gag Avenatti Slapped Away By Judge: UPDATED

LOS ANGELES—Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and so-called “fixer,” is trying to put an end to what he has described as Michael Avenatti’s “publicity tour,” filing a request for a restraining order on Thursday. Cohen wants to stop the loquacious lawyer for AVN Hall of Famer Stormy Daniels from doing any more information sharing in public about Daniels’ lawsuit against Cohen and Trump.

The petition filed by Cohen’s lawyer Brent Blakely with Judge James Otero in a Los Angeles federal court claims that Avenatti’s seemingly relentless schedule of media appearances “threatens to turn what should be a solemn Federal Court proceeding into a media circus” due to the Orange County, California, attorney’s stream of insults hurled at Cohen through the media.

UPDATE 12:50 p.m. PDT: Federal Judge S. James Otero  on Friday morning slapped down Michael Cohen’s attempt to silence Michael Avenatti with a gag order, according to the news agency Reuters. And the judge punctuated his decision by scolding Cohen for wasting the court’s time.

Otero however did not completely slam the door on Cohen’s request, giving Avenatti until June 25 to file his formal response to the gag order request.

On Friday, however, Otero said that Cohen had failed to prove that he would suffer “immediate, irreparable injury” if Avenatti continues his near-daily practice of appearing on national television to talk about the case, and about Cohen’s other legal troubles.

But Otero didn’t stop there, adding that requests such as Cohen’s, “throw the system out of whack. They impose an unnecessary burden on the court and an unnecessary adversarial burden on opposing counsel who are required to make a hurried response under pressure, usually for no good reason.”

The judge’s full, one-page order denying Cohen’s request for a gag order can be read online at this link

ORIGINAL STORY: Avenatti has repeatedly predicted in public that Cohen will be indicted and arrested, calling Cohen a “moron,”  “incompetent,” and claiming that Cohen will ultimately “sing like a canary” to prosecutors, incriminating Trump and others.

The lawyer has faced criticism over his media ubiquity before, but he defends his media blitz as part of a strategy for winning Daniels’ cases against Cohen and Trump.

“It’s working. It’s working in spades,” Avenatti told CNN in May. “One of the ways that it’s working is, because we’re so out-front on this, people send us information. People want to help our cause. People contact us with information.”

The Cohen motion cites 121 TV appearances by Avenatti, but that estimate may be low. By May 16, one conservative media watchdog group had already counted 147 Avenatti appearances, citing one single day, May 3, when the cable news network MSNBC featured Avenatti seven separate times.

In the request for a restraining order designed to shut Avenatti up, Cohen and Blakely say that Avenatti’s “unquenchable thirst for publicity” has caused him to v*****e California’s rules of conduct for lawyers, and is “likely to result in Mr. Cohen being deprived of his right to a fair trial.”

Avenatti, in a Friday morning appearance on MSNBC, called Cohen’s motion to silence him an attack on the First Amendment, and in fact, courts have long ruled that the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech covers “matters of public concern” more completely than any other category of speech.

“It’s not just an attack on me, it’s an attack on every source, every individual who provides information, whether it be in this case or others, and indirectly it’s an attack on the media,” Avenatti said on Friday.

The motion also cited New York federal court Judge Kimba Wood, who told Avenatti in a May 30 hearing that if he wanted to participate in the criminal case against Cohen there, he would be required to cease his “publicity tour.”

On his Twitter account, Avenatti dismissed the motion to gag him as “a joke.”

“The motion for a gag order is a complete joke and baseless,” he wrote on Thursday night. “Mr. Cohen and Brent Blakely can’t deal with the truth, the facts, and the law, so they have to resort to unethical, meritless motions. This must be their birthday present to Mr. Trump.”

Thursday, June 14, was Trump’s 72nd birthday.

Photo via ABC’s ‘The View’ Screen Capture

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