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Judge Orders Stormy Daniels Case Delayed For 90 Days


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Judge Orders Stormy Daniels Case Delayed For 90 Days

 

A federal judge on Friday ordered a three-month delay in Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against Donald Trump and his personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen, after Cohen said in an affidavit filed with the court that he planned to take the Fifth if he is forced to answer questions under oath about the $130,000 payment he made to Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election.

But Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that he would quickly appeal the judge’s stay order.

After the stay was issued, Judge S. James Otero set the next court date in the Daniels case for July 27 at 9 a.m. at the Central District of California federal courthouse in Los Angeles. But he also ordered Cohen to file a statement with the court giving an update on Cohen’s criminal case 10 days before that July court appearance.

Cohen is under federal criminal investigation in New York, after prosecutors and FBI agents raided his home, hotel room and office on April 9, seizing stacks of documents, electronic communications and reportedly, 16 cell phones belonging to Cohen. 

In those raids, investigators are believed to have seized numerous documents relating to the Daniels case and Cohen’s role in it. 

“The Court finds that there is a large potential factual overlap between the civil and criminal proceedings that would heavily implicate Mr. Cohen’s Fifth Amendment rights,” Otero wrote in his stay order.

Avenatti responded to Otero’s order with a statement posted to his Twitter account.

“While we certainly respect Judge Otero’s 90 day stay order based on Mr. Cohen’s pleading of the 5th, we do not agree with it,” Avenatti wrote. “We will likely be filing an immediate appeal to the Ninth Circuit early next week.”

Based in San Francisco, the Ninth Circuit appellate court handles all appeals from all four federal districts in California, as well as much of the western United States, Alaska and Hawaii.

Cohen and his attorneys had requested the delay at a hearing one week ago in Otero’s courtroom. At the time, the judge asked for more information about how the Daniels case and the criminal probe into Cohen might overlap.

On Friday of this week, Otero found that there was indeed a possibility that there would be disputes over evidence between the civil and criminal cases against Cohen and that if the lawsuit were allowed to proceed right away, it could have a “significant impact on integrity of criminal investigation,” NBC News reporter journalist Andrew Blankstein reported from the courthouse.

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