Lawyers seek to block Stormy Daniels’ lawyer from Cohen case
NEW YORK (AP) — Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer said in court papers on Friday that a lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels has created a “carnival atmosphere” and should be kept from a New York court.
Michael Cohen’s attorneys made their arguments in a filing in Manhattan federal court to a judge overseeing the process through which some materials seized April 9 in FBI raids on Cohen’s home and office will be kept from criminal prosecutors to protect attorney-client privilege.
To ensure the integrity of the process, Judge Kimba Wood last month appointed a former federal judge, Barbara Jones, to resolve conflicts over what is subject to the privilege.
Prosecutors have said the raids resulted from an investigation into possible fraud involving Cohen’s business interests. No charges have been filed.
Cohen’s attorneys said letting California lawyer Michael Avenatti join the legal fight over the privilege issue would “be detrimental to the careful review procedure that is currently being overseen by the special master.”
The attorneys wrote that Avenatti has focused on “smearing” Cohen publicly and has made inaccurate statements. They also said Avenatti has released “factually accurate information” about Cohen’s banking transactions and asked Wood to inquire how he got it.
“This should be extremely troubling to the court,” they said. “Mr. Avenatti’s deliberate public dissemination of confidential nonpublic information speaks to his character and lack of fitness to appear before this court — as well as his craving to create a ‘carnival atmosphere’ in this case.”
Earlier this week, Avenatti filed papers to be admitted into the case to protect the interests of Daniels.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, says she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 and was paid to keep quiet as part of a nondisclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 presidential election. She has sought to invalidate that agreement.
Cohen has admitted arranging a $130,000 payment to quiet the porn star’s claims she had an affair with Trump.
Avenatti labeled the filing by Cohen’s lawyers “without merit and frivolous.”
“It speaks volumes that they so desperately want me excluded,” he added.
Wood has scheduled a hearing for next week to be updated on where things stand on the processing of raid materials.
Trump repeatedly denied an affair with Daniels and told reporters on Air Force One he hadn’t known about a settlement with her. Trump later acknowledged on Twitter he repaid Cohen but said the money “had nothing to do” with his Republican presidential campaign.