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A California judge has issued a 90-day time-out in Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit in which she seeks to wiggle out of the $130,000 non-disclosure agreement that bars her from discussing her alleged 2006 affair with President Trump.
Judge S. James Otero granted the three-month stay Friday, handing a small victory to Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
Cohen, the president’s longtime personal “fixer,” had sought to stay the lawsuit this week, arguing through his own lawyer that mounting a defense has become difficult since New York agents, who are also probing the NDA, seized cell phones, computers and documents from Cohen’s office, apartment and hotel room on April 9.
The delay allows the feds’ probe to continue for three months without Cohen being called to testify in a deposition or hearing in Daniels’ lawsuit, where he’d be forced to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination — or risk swearing a statement that could potentially fuel the feds’ case.
On Wednesday, Cohen had said if he was called as a witness in the lawsuit he would invoke the Fifth.
Cohen has insisted that he paid the porn star $130,000 out of his own pocket and out of personal loyalty to Trump.
The feds are reportedly investigating whether Cohen’s payments to Daniels – and American Media Inc.’s payment to another Trump accuser, ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal – constitute campaign finance fraud.
Trump, through the White House, has denied having affairs with either woman.
He has also sought to distance himself from Cohen, saying he had no inkling of the $130,000 in hush money – though he still admitted Thursday that the lawyer “would represent me on some things. He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me.”
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said he will appeal the stay.
“While we certainly respect Judge Otero’s 90 day stay order based on Mr. Cohen’s pleading of the 5th, we do not agree with it,” Avenatti tweeted.
“We will likely be filing an immediate appeal to the Ninth Circuit early next week. Justice delayed is justice denied,” the tweet continued.
The California court holds its next hearing on the lawsuit July 27.
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