L.A. Judge Grants 90-Day Delay in Stormy Daniels Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A federal judge in Los Angeles today granted a 90- day delay in adult-film actress Stormy Daniels' lawsuit seeking to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement she signed over an alleged affair she claims she had with now-President Donald Trump a decade ago.

The ruling follows a declaration filed Wednesday by Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who said he would assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the lawsuit because of an ongoing criminal investigation against him in New York. A status conference in Daniels' case was set for July 27.

Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, responded that he would file an appeal of the ruling by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero to put the lawsuit on hold.

``While we certainly respect Judge Otero's 90 day stay order based on Mr. Cohen's pleading the 5th, we do not agree with it,'' Avenatti wrote on Twitter. ``We will likely be filing an immediate appeal to the Ninth Circuit early next week. Justice delayed is justice denied.''

Daniels claims the non-disclosure agreement she signed shortly before the presidential election in 2016 is invalid because Trump never signed it. Daniels claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006-07.

Cohen's attorney, Brent Blakely, said last week his client might be indicted in the New York probe within the next three months. Arguing for a 90- day stay, Blakely told Otero that if his client is questioned in the Daniels case, ``he would have to assert the Fifth to almost everything asked.''

Federal authorities have not publicly stated the focus of the New York investigation into Cohen, but various reports have suggested he's being probed for possible tax fraud or campaign finance violations, stemming in part from the $130,000 he has admitted paying Daniels as part of the 2016 non- disclosure agreement.

Avenatti argued in court papers that Daniels' lawsuit should move forward because Trump and Cohen have provided no evidence to bolster their claim that a jury trial would be unfair to them. Avenatti also argued that Cohen has already spoken publicly about the case and a delay would be unfair to his client.

Otero pointed out that the terms of the non-disclosure agreement -- in which Cohen threatened Daniels with a $1 million fine for each time she spoke publicly about her alleged tryst with Trump -- has not deterred the performer from discussing the affair with the media.

``Your client has been on `60 Minutes' (and) `The View,''' the judge told Avenatti. ``She has told her story and she continues to tell her story.''

Avenatti countered that the ``harm'' to Daniels -- whose real name is Stephanie Clifford -- from the monetary threat ``continues with each passing day,'' and while she has indeed appeared on the shows, ``there are many things she hasn't done'' as a result of Cohen's threat.

Cohen has admitted paying Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket just before the presidential election and that he wasn't reimbursed. Trump has denied any knowledge of the payment, but on Thursday he appeared to acknowledge for the first time that Cohen had represented him in the Daniels payment.

``He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me,'' Trump said in a phone interview on ``Fox and Friends," adding that ``from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong.''

White House press officials have repeatedly said Trump denies having had an affair with Daniels.

Trump took a shot at Daniels last week, accusing her of engineering a ``con job'' by releasing a sketch of somebody she claims threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 to keep quiet about the alleged affair.

``A sketch years later about a nonexistent man,'' Trump wrote on his Twitter page. ``A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for fools, but they know it!''

Daniels claims the man threatened her when reports first began to surface about her alleged affair with Trump.

Daniels' lawsuit also includes a defamation allegation against Cohen, who has accused Daniels of lying about the alleged affair and her allegation that she was threatened. Avenatti said he plans to file a defamation allegation against Trump as a result of the president's comments last week about his client's truthfulness.

Cohen has filed papers alleging he could seek as much as $20 million from the actress for breaching the non-disclosure pact.


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