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Judge denies Stormy Daniels’ request to have Trump and Cohen testify

By Chris Sommerfeldt • Mar 30, 2018 at 11:00 AM

A federal California judge struck down a request from Stormy Daniels Thursday to have President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Michael Cohen testify under oath — but the porn star’s attorney contended that the ruling was a move in his client’s favor.

“We’re very, very encouraged by language in the order not just suggesting, but basically finding, that we’re correct in the application of the law and the facts of this matter,” Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

U.S. District Judge James Otero’s ruling was dense with legal jargon, but Avenatti explained that the gist of it was that he had filed his client’s request for a jury trial too early. Avenatti said he expects his motion to pass once Cohen or Trump request to have the case be resolved in closed-door arbitration proceedings.

Avenatti tweeted that he expects Cohen to file that request “any day.”

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing to null a “hush agreement” that prevents her from speaking about an extramarital affair she says she had with Trump in 2006. Earlier this week, Daniels added a defamation component to her suit, alleging that Cohen’s repeated denials has deliberately subjected her to “hatred” and “shame.”

Daniels has dominated headlines ever since news of her alleged affair with Trump first broke in January. The 39-year-old porn star first slept with Trump a few weeks after first lady Melania gave birth to his youngest son, Barron, according to court records.

Despite the immediate denial, Avenatti said Otero’s Thursday ruling strongly insinuates that he will be granted a jury trial preceded by legal discovery, the pre-courtroom procedure in which each party can obtain evidence from the other side.

“We were a little premature this time around,” Avenatti said. “This does not bode well for the president or Mr. Cohen, and all indications are that when this motion is heard on the merits, we’re going to get the discovery and we’re going to get the trial we’ve asked for.”

Representatives for Cohen did not immediately return requests for comment.

A day in court for Trump could prove disastrous, according to legal experts.

Jeffrey Cohen, a New York-based family lawyer and expert on matrimonial law, said Trump’s dubious relationship with the truth could land him in congressional hot water.

“Trump is very impulsive,” Cohen told the New York Daily News. “If he is caught in lies there could be multiple ramifications. One of the most perilous is that it’s found that he has lied under oath and, just like Bill Clinton, that could result in articles of impeachment.”

The risk of Trump unloading a “shotgun spray” of falsehoods during a deposition is high and “incredibly dangerous,” Cohen continued.

“There’s an expression from World War II: loose lips sink ships,” Cohen said.


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