San Francisco, April 28: A California judge halted porn star Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen for 90 days while the criminal investigation of the lawyer moves forward in New York, the media reported.
Cohen had asked to halt the lawsuit because he would assert his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself while the criminal investigation continues. The attorney said he would not be able to fully respond to questions that arose in Daniels’ lawsuit, reports CNN.
Because Cohen was the “alleged mastermind” behind a non-dis agreement and settlement payment with Daniels over her alleged affair with Trump, Judge James Otero wrote on Friday, he would have to choose whether he would take the Fifth or defend himself on “every major aspect” of the details in the case.
Otero further said he believes Cohen could be indicted.
“The significance of the FBI raid cannot be understated,” he wrote, nodding to the proceedings in New York that this week brought in a third-party lawyer to review Cohen’s documents for confidential information before prosecutors can use them.
When the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Cohen’s hotel room, home and office earlier this month, it seized records related to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
The pause in the lawsuit will prevent Daniels from attempting to depose Trump and gain access to other documents and testimony from Cohen, CNN reported.
In her lawsuit, Daniels is asking whether the agreement was legal, and is looking at whether Trump consented to it, the judge in California wrote.
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, said they plan to file an appeal.
“While we certainly respect Judge Otero’s 90 day stay order based on Cohen’s pleading of the 5th, we do not agree with it,” Avenatti wrote on Twitter.
“We will likely be filing an immediate appeal to the Ninth Circuit early next week. Justice delayed is justice denied.”
The California court set the next date of hearing to July 27.