Trials & Litigation

Federal judge stays Stormy Daniels' suit, says Cohen indictment appears 'likely'

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A federal judge in Los Angeles has granted a 90-day stay in Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against Michael Cohen that seeks to invalidate a confidentiality agreement in which she received $130,000 from President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

U.S. District Judge S. James Otero of Los Angeles granted the stay on Friday report USA Today, the New York Times, Courthouse News Service and Politico. His order is here.

Daniels has alleged a sexual encounter with Trump. Otero said the porn star is seeking information related to the legality of her confidentiality agreement and whether Trump had consented to it. The civil suit has substantial overlap with the criminal probe of Cohen, Otero said.

Otero said the probe and the documents seized in the FBI raids on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room earlier this month “in some part reference the $130,000 payment” to Daniels. He also noted Cohen’s plan to invoke the Fifth Amendment in the civil suit, which could make his deposition “utterly useless.”

“The significance of the FBI raid cannot be understated,” Otero said. “This is no simple criminal investigation; it is an investigation into the personal attorney of a sitting president regarding documents that might be subject to the attorney-client privilege. Whether or not an indictment is forthcoming, and the court thinks it likely based on these facts alone, these unique circumstances counsel in favor of stay.”

Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said an appeal of the decision is likely.

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