- Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
- A federal judge denied Michael Cohen’s request for a gag order on Stormy Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti.
- Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, wanted to stop Daniels and Avenatti from discussing their case against Trump with the public.
- Cohen claimed that Avenatti had been running a “smear campaign” against him.
- Daniels and Avenatti are suing Trump to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement and allow them to talk about an alleged affair.
- The agreement was signed in exchange for $130,000, which Cohen was instrumental in organising.
A federal judge has denied a request from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s to prevent porn star Stormy Daniels and her lawyer from discussing their case against Donald Trump with the public and media.
US District Court Judge S. James Otero denied Cohen’s request for a gag order, filed this June, on Tuesday.
The former Trump lawyer had hoped to stop Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, from making public statements including those on Cohen’s character and credibility, witness identity and testimonies, the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
Avenatti is extremely outspoken on Twitter, and has become a celebrity figure, making numerous appearances on national TV.
Cohen claimed that Avenatti had effectively been running a “smear campaign” against him.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is trying to sue Trump to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement she signed, days before the 2016 presidential election.
In exchange for signing, she received $130,000 routed through Cohen’s company, Essential Consultants LLC. She alleges that she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which Trump denies.
She is also suing Trump and Cohen for defamation.
- Tara Ziemba/Getty Images
In the application for the gag order, Cohen’s lawyer, Brent Blakely, cited more than 170 TV appearances and 439 tweets in which Avenatti discussed the case. Cohen also accused Avenatti of spreading private financial records of people sharing the same name as Cohen.
Avenatti is a prolific tweeter, and has posted multiple tweets calling into question Cohen’s credibility and calling him a “co-conspirator dishonest thug.”
Mr. Davis is a good lawyer but his client Mr. Cohen is not innocent nor is he a victim. He is a co-conspirator dishonest thug who continues to refuse to come clean & do the right thing. They are playing you & aiming for a pardon. Where is the rest of the evidence & tapes? #Basta
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) July 25, 2018
But Otero on Tuesday ruled that Cohen failed to demonstrate how Avenatti’s statements would impact Cohen’s right to a fair trial on Daniels’ case against Trump, particularly since no trial date has been set, so any objections are still only abstract.
“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. He added that the trial would concern Trump, Daniels, and Essential Consultants LLC, rather than Cohen himself.
Otero did, however, raise concerns of what he called “the extent and manner of Mr. Avenatti’s publicity tour,” but said its effects were “far less consequential” that the current federal investigation into Cohen’s businesses in New York.
Cohen is currently the focus of a federal investigation in the Southern District of New York into whether he violated campaign-finance laws, committed bank fraud or wire fraud, engaged in illegal lobbying, or participated in other crimes.
Otero extended a delay on the Daniels’ trial against Trump for another 45 days due to that investigation into Cohen.
Avenatti tweeted following the release of the judgement: “So much winning from these two,” sarcastically 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