Judge denies Cohen request for gag order on Avenatti
A district court judge has denied a request from President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen to issue a gag order against Stormy Daniels’s attorney, Michael Avenatti.
U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero found that while Cohen objected to Avenatti’s public statements about him and the adult-film star’s case, Cohen did not demonstrate how this would impact his right to a fair trial, noting that it has been delayed for several months.
“It is far from clear that the publicity in this case would affect the outcome of a trial that may happen, if at all, months down the road,” Otero wrote.
The judge also wrote that if a trial is held, Cohen would not be a party to the proceedings, as the legal issue surrounds Daniels, President Trump and Cohen’s company, Essential Consultants LLC.
Otero also wrote that he has concerns about “the extent and manner of Mr. Avenatti’s publicity tour, the rights and issues involved in this action are far less consequential than the potential criminal prosecution in New York,” citing the current federal investigation into Cohen.
Daniels, represented by Avenatti, is suing over a nondisclosure agreement about an alleged affair with Trump that she signed in exchange for a $130,000 payment from Cohen, claiming that it’s void because Trump never signed the document. She is also suing both Trump and Cohen for defamation.
The judge also extended a stay on the trial for another 45 days, again citing the federal investigation in New York on Cohen.
Avenatti celebrated the ruling in a tweet Tuesday. “So much winning from these two!” he wrote, referring to Trump and Cohen.
Here is a copy of the Order Judge Otero just issued in our case against Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen. It denies their attempt to silence me and prevent me from commenting as to the truth. So much winning from these two! #Basta https://t.co/doG2JazSq6
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) July 31, 2018
Cohen’s attorney, Brent Blakely, claimed that Avenatti was engaging in a public smear campaign against his client ahead of the trial, noting that Avenatti had made more than 170 appearances on various news shows in recent months.
Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, revealed earlier this year that the president had reimbursed Cohen for the payment to Daniels after Trump previously denied any knowledge of the arrangement.
Giuliani and Trump have maintained that the payment did not violate campaign finance laws.
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