President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen on Friday asked a California federal judge to stay a lawsuit filed by Stephanie Clifford, known as porn star Stormy Daniels, because the men believe it could implicate Cohen's Fifth Amendment rights amid a pending criminal investigation.
Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Stormy Daniels, told Reuters on Thursday that Cohen's attorney told him that Cohen will plead the Fifth if his application for a stay is denied.
Prosecutors said the raid on Cohen's office was the result of a "months-long investigation" into Trump's personal lawyer, and that the crimes largely relate to Cohen's "own business dealings".
Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen under criminal investigation
Not only would evidence that Cohen indeed traveled to Prague reveal he's been lying, but it would discredit the argument Trump and his allies in Congress have been using to discredit the Russian Federation investigation.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen late previous year helped arrange a $1.6 million payment by Elliott Broidy, a top Trump fundraiser and defense contractor, to a former Playboy model who claimed that Broidy impregnated her. She says it was hush money for her alleged affair with President Trump. In January 2016, Cohen emailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman in bid to secure Kremlin help launching a new Trump Tower. This month, Kosachev was among 24 high-profile Russians whom the US sanctioned in retaliation for Russia's meddling.
"Not at all. It's meant to send the message that this is a very, very serious matter for her and she wants to make sure that the American people know that she's behind efforts to bring to light as much information and documents as possible", he said.
The filing, signed by acting U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami in the Southern District of NY, also says that while the current investigation was referred by special counsel Robert Mueller, the NY investigation "has proceeded independent" of Mueller's work.
Other staffers at the Trump Organization have been further tied to the payments made by Cohen. She alone decided that she did not want to continue with the pregnancy and I offered to help her financially during this hard period.
If Cohen is claiming to have made the transaction on behalf of his friend and long-time client Trump, the situation could be seen by Mueller and those investigating the Trump campaign as a "coordinated, illegal, in kind contribution by Cohen for the goal of influencing the election", Potter said.
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