Trump Lawyer Says He'll Plead The Fifth in Porn Actress Case - NECN

Trump Lawyer Says He'll Plead The Fifth in Porn Actress Case

Cohen asked a judge to delay the civil case after his office and residence were raided by the FBI

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    Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, arrives for a hearing at federal court Monday, April 16, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    What to Know

    • Michael Cohen has been asking a federal judge in Los Angeles to delay Stormy Daniels' case after FBI agents raided his home and office

    • Cohen will assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination "in connection with all proceedings in this case," he wrote

    • Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, said Cohen's filing was a "stunning development."

    President Donald Trump's personal attorney said Wednesday he will assert his constitutional right against self-incrimination in a civil case brought by a porn actress who said she had an affair with Trump, a move the president says "doesn't have to do with me."

    Michael Cohen has been asking a federal judge in Los Angeles to delay Stormy Daniels' case after FBI agents raided his home and office earlier this month, seeking records about a nondisclosure agreement Daniels signed days before the 2016 presidential election.

    Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and has sued to invalidate the confidentiality agreement that prevents her discussing it. She's also suing Cohen, alleging defamation.

    Cohen sought to delay the civil case 90 days after the raid, arguing that his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination may be jeopardized if legal proceedings aren't stayed.

    FBI Raids Office of Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen

    [NATL] FBI Raids Office of Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen

    Federal agents on Monday raided the offices of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, who has been under public scrutiny for weeks over a $130,000 payment to a porn actress who says she had sex with Trump more than a decade ago.

    (Published Monday, April 9, 2018)

    But last week, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero said there were "gaping holes" in Cohen's request for a delay.

    Cohen's lawyer argued in court last week that because the criminal investigation overlaps with issues in the lawsuit, his client's right against self-incrimination could be adversely impacted because he won't be able to respond and defend himself.

    Trump defended his personal lawyer Thursday morning on "Fox and Friends," saying that Cohen is "a good person" who "represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal" and "did absolutely nothing wrong."

    Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, responded to Trump's admission that Cohen represented him in the Daniels case, calling it "another gift from the heavens."

    "It's a hugely damaging admission by the president because, according to what he said on Air Force One a few weeks ago, he didn't know anything about the agreement, he didn't know anything about the payment," Avenatti said Thursday on MSNBC. "Michael Cohen went off and did this on a lark, and Mr. Trump knew nothing about it. We now find out that that's bogus."

    Trump continued his defense of Cohen, arguing that he is actually more of a businessman, and his decision to assert his Fifth Amendment rights doesn't have to do with their dealings together as lawyer and client.

    Trump Calls Cohen Raid 'Disgraceful'

    [NATL] Trump Calls Cohen Raid 'Disgraceful'

    President Donald Trump said the federal raid on the office of his attorney, Michael Cohen, was "disgraceful" and part of a "witch hunt." He also mulls whether he should fire special counsel Robert Mueller and brings up Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. 

    (Published Friday, April 13, 2018)

    "Let me just tell you that Michael is in business; he's really a businessman," Trump said. "Probably the big thing is his business. I've been told that I'm not involved."

    Trump went on to downplay Cohen's role in his legal representation, saying that Cohen does a "tiny, tiny little fraction" of his legal work.

    In a court filing on Wednesday, Cohen said that FBI agents had seized "various electronic devices and documents in my possession" which contain information about the $130,000 Daniels was paid as part of the agreement. Agents also seized communications with his lawyer, Brent Blakely, about the civil case, Cohen said.

    Daniels has offered to return the $130,000 and argues the agreement is legally invalid because it was only signed by her and Cohen, not by Trump.

    Cohen will assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination "in connection with all proceedings in this case," he wrote.

    Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, said Cohen's filing was a "stunning development."

    Sean Hannity Named as Cohen's Third Client

    [NATL] Sean Hannity Named as Cohen's Third Client

    Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, appeared in court Monday to argue that some documents seized during an FBI raid should remain private. In court it was revealed that Cohen's previously undisclosed third client is Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hannity denied hiring Cohen as his lawyer 'in a traditional sense.'

    (Published Monday, April 16, 2018)

    "Never before in our nation's history has the attorney for the sitting President invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the President," he tweeted.

    Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.