Stormy Daniels Lawsuit Will Stay On Hold Until July, Judge Rules

A federal judge this week shot down Stormy Daniels’ request to restart her lawsuit against Donald Trump and his personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen, meaning the case cannot move forward until at least July 27.

Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, says that he will appeal the ruling, according to a Reuters report

Cohen, who is now facing a criminal investigation in New York and according to some media reports may soon face an indictment and arrest, in April sought and was granted a 90-day delay of Daniels’ lawsuit, telling Judge S. James Otero that if the case proceeded, he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against answering questions from Daniels and Avenatti.

But in May, Avenatti asked Otero to at least partially lift the stay, saying that new evidence in the case—particularly public statements by Trump and his newest lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani—meant that there was no reason to stop him from deposing Trump. Avenatti said that he would not yet seek to depose Cohen.

In his five-page order, which may be read in PDF form at this link, Otero dismissed the motion by Daniels and Avenatti to restart the case, saying that nothing Trump or Giuliani has said in public changes his reasons for granting the delay in the first place: namely, Cohen’s claim of a Fifth Amendment privilege.

In the request, Avenatti said that Trump’s statements calling Daniels’ claim that she had sex with him in 2006 “false and extortionist,” as well as Trump’s admission in a financial disclosure form that he know about Cohen’s $130,000 hush-money payoff to Daniels, don’t provide any new information.

“Qualified statements made by Mr. Trump during a news broadcast do not outweigh the more substantial evidence from Mr. Cohen and government officials directly involved in the investigation,” Otero wrote, referring to prosecutors’ and Cohen’s acknowledgment that his criminal case in New York at least partly involves the $130,000 payoff to Daniels.

When federal agents raided Cohen’s office and residences on April 9, they seized thousands of documents, including some with details of the payment to Daniels. 

Otero also scolded Avenatti in his ruling.

“The Court again counsels against the unjustified use of ‘extraordinary’ procedural mechanisms to advance the case,” Otero wrote. “The Court will not permit the parties to displace other litigants or v*****e the Court’s rules. While the Court is cognizant of the amount of media attention in this case, this alone is insufficient to create the exigency required for extraordinary relief. “

Avenatti called the ruling “not unexpected,” and said that he planned to file an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco.

Photos by Max Goldberg/Gary/Wikimedia Commons

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