Cohen: Stormy Daniels’ lawyer is running ‘smear campaign’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former longtime personal lawyer says porn actress Stormy Daniels’ attorney is running a “smear campaign” against him and insists that a federal judge must step in and issue a gag order, according to court documents filed Monday.
An attorney for Michael Cohen — Trump’s former personal lawyer — argues that because Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, frequently appears in television interviews and tweets about the case almost daily, his comments are “aimed at tainting the jury pool.”
Cohen’s attorney, Brent Blakely, argues a restraining order that would prevent Avenatti from speaking with reporters and releasing information about the case to the public is necessary to ensure his client receives a fair trial.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex with Trump in 2006 when he was married, which Trump has denied. She’s suing Trump and Cohen and seeking to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement that she signed days before the 2016 presidential election.
In April, FBI agents raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room as part of a probe into his business dealings and investigators were seeking records surrounding the $130,000 payment that was made to Daniels as part of a confidentiality agreement.
Avenatti has argued a gag order isn’t necessary and the request is a “complete joke.” A hearing is set later this month.
Cohen’s attorney says the gag order is needed because, he argues, Avenatti is turning the case into a “media circus.”
“Like a small-town carnival magician who attempts to confuse the audience with smoke and mirrors, Avenatti attempts to somehow justify his conduct by pulling the First Amendment out of his tiny bag of tricks while at the same time pointing his finger at others,” Blakely wrote.
In response to Monday’s court filing, Avenatti tweeted, “If Michael Cohen and his attorney Brent Blakely are so concerned about media attention that they are seeking to keep me from speaking the truth to the press via a gag order, then why did Cohen give an interview to @GMA?!?!,” an apparent reference to Cohen talking to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.
“They like press, just not the truth,” he wrote.