A federal judge in California on Friday postponed ruling on a request by President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen to delay a lawsuit filed by porn star Stormy Daniels against them.
Daniels’s suit seeks to be released from a non-disclosure agreement she signed barring her from publicly discussing an affair she claims she had with Trump in 2006.
The 90-day delay in the lawsuit, which was opposed by Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti, is being sought because of a criminal probe of Cohen in New York City by federal prosecutors there. The non-disclosure agreement with Daniels is being eyed in that investigation.
A ruling on the request for a delay could come as early as next week.
Judge S. James Otero, at a hearing Friday, said he would hold off ruling on the delay request because he first wanted Cohen to personally to file a court document announcing his intention to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions in the case.
“Cohen has not filed that his Fifth Amendment rights would be violated without a stay,” Otero said.
Otero said it was not sufficient that Cohen’s lawyer had announced that intention.
“Your burden is to show that there is a large degree of overlap” between the Daniels lawsuit and the criminal investigation, Otero said told Cohen’s lawyer.
The judge gave Cohen until next Wednesday to file the document.
Neither Cohen nor Daniels were present for the hearing in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
Daniels is suing Trump and Cohen in an effort to be released from the non-disclosure agreement she signed right before the presidential election in 2016 in exchange for $130,000 paid by Cohen.
Her lawsuit claims the non-disclosure agreement is invalid because Trump never signed it.
Cohen has admitted paying Daniels $130,000 shortly before the presidential election. But the White House has denied that Trump had an affair with Daniels.
Cohen’s New York office, home and hotel room were raided April 9 by FBI agents armed with a search warrant issued in connection with an ongoing criminal probe of Cohen by federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors have said they are eyeing Business dealings by Cohen.
But FBI agents also reportedly seized documents related to the payoff to Daniels, and also reportedly were interested in payments made to at least one other woman who has said she had an affair with Trump.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Source : CNBC