Cohen Makes 'Stunning' Move in Stormy Daniels Case

He plans to plead the Fifth in civil lawsuit
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2018 1:38 AM CDT
Updated Apr 26, 2018 6:47 AM CDT
Michael Avenatti, attorney for porn actress Stormy Daniels, talks to the media outside a court in Los Angeles Friday, April 20, 2018.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – In what Stormy Daniels' lawyer called a "stunning development," President Trump's personal lawyer said Wednesday that he plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in the adult film star's lawsuit against him. Michael Cohen, citing government raids on his home and offices, filed papers saying he plans to plead the Fifth in connection with the civil lawsuit "due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and US Attorney for the Southern District of New York," CNN reports. Daniels is suing Cohen for defamation for accusing her of lying about her alleged affair with Trump, reports the Hill. She is also seeking to void a deal in which Cohen paid her $130,000 to stay quiet about the alleged affair.

Michael Avenatti, Daniels' attorney, says the move is especially stunning because Cohen was Trump's "fixer" for more than a decade. "Never before in our nation’s history has the attorney for the sitting President invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the President," he tweeted. He also tweeted a link to a Washington Post story that noted Trump slammed Hillary Clinton staffers in 2016 for invoking the Fifth during the investigation of her email server—but invoked the amendment himself during his 1990 divorce from Ivana Trump, dodging no fewer than 97 deposition questions, mostly about other women. (Avenatti has filed a motion to depose Trump.)

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