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Cohen to plead the Fifth in Stormy Daniels lawsuit

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, plans to assert his Fifth Amendment rights in the lawsuit filed against him by adult-film star Stormy Daniels.

“Based on the advice of counsel, I will assert my 5th amendment rights in connection with all proceeding in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York,” Cohen said in a court filing Wednesday.

Cohen said the FBI raids earlier this month on his residence, office and hotel room — and the ongoing criminal probe they represent — are behind the decision not to offer testimony in the California lawsuit.

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The raids sought documents related to Daniels, among other matters. Cohen is reportedly under investigation for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing Cohen for defamation for suggesting that she lied about an alleged affair with Trump.

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement made just weeks before the 2016 presidential election. Cohen says the money was his own and he was never reimbursed. 

Daniels has sued Trump over the agreement, claiming it is void because Trump never signed it. She later amended the lawsuit to include the defamation charges against Cohen, and has threatened through her representation to sue Trump for defamation as well.

In a Wednesday tweet, Michael Avenatti, Daniels's attorney, called Cohen's latest court filing "a stunning development."

Meanwhile, Cohen and Trump’s lawyers are currently locked in a legal battle with the Justice Department over the items seized during the FBI raid.

Attorneys for both men are urging the judge in the case to appoint a so-called special master, or a neutral third party, to examine the materials and determine what is covered by attorney-client privilege and can’t be viewed by prosecutors.

The Justice Department has pushed back against the request, saying they have a "taint team" in place that could conduct the same review.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is investigating Cohen in part based on a referral from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, who is leading the investigation into Russia's election interference.

— Updated at 7:03 p.m.