President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is asserting his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in porn star Stormy Daniels’ civil case in California, citing the ongoing criminal probe of him in New York, two reports say.
Both BuzzFeed News and NBC News tweeted out the legal document asserting Cohen’s decision on Wednesday evening.
Federal Judge James Otero last Friday told lawyers for Cohen that he needed to file a declaration that his Fifth Amendment might be jeopardized if the case in Los Angeles goes forward — and set the deadline for Wednesday.
The FBI raids on Cohen’s office and home scooped up documents related to Daniels and other matters, The Hill reported.
Cohen is reportedly under investigation for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing Cohen for defamation for suggesting that she lied about an alleged affair with Trump.
Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement made just weeks before the 2016 presidential election. Cohen says the money was his own and he was never reimbursed.
Daniels has sued Trump over the agreement, claiming that it is void because Trump never signed it. She later amended the lawsuit to include the defamation charges against Cohen, and has threatened through her representation to sue Trump for defamation as well.
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