Donald Trump’s personal attorney asked a federal judge Thursday night to sign a gag order to stop porn actress Stormy Daniels’ lawyer from speaking with reporters and releasing information about the case to the public.
In a court filing in Los Angeles, an attorney for Michael Cohen — the president’s personal lawyer — argues that Michael Avenatti, who is representing Daniels, has been tainting the case with a “publicity tour” that has included more than 100 television interview since March.
Cohen’s attorney, Brent Blakely, argues that Avenatti is “mainly driven by his seemingly unquenchable thirst for publicity.”
Blakely argues in court documents that Avenatti’s behavior, including the almost daily tweets about Cohen, is unethical, threatens his client’s ability to have a fair trial and is turning the case into a “media circus.” He wants a judge to sign a restraining order that would prohibit Avenatti from speaking with reporters or publicly releasing details about the case.
He said the “malicious attacks on Mr. Cohen must be stopped in its tracks.”
Avenatti called Blakely’s request a “complete joke” and said he would vehemently oppose it.
“The only unethical lawyers in this case are Mr. Cohen and his lawyer Mr. Blakely. They want to hide the truth from the American people because Mr. Cohen and Mr. Blakely believe that conspiracy and cover-up are acceptable. They want the cover-up to continue,” he told The Associated Press.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex with Trump in 2006 when he was married. Trump has denied it.
Daniels is suing Trump and Cohen and is seeking to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement that she signed days before the 2016 presidential election. She argues the agreement should be nullified because Cohen signed it, but the president did not.
Cohen had sought to delay the legal fight after his home and office were raided by the FBI in April. The agents were seeking records about the nondisclosure agreement that Daniels had signed, among other things.
A federal judge agreed in April to delay the case for 90 days after Cohen argued that the criminal investigation overlapped with issues in the lawsuit and his right against self-incrimination would be adversely affected because he won’t be able to respond and defend himself.
Avenatti has asked the court to reconsider the delay, force Trump to answer questions under oath and allow him to obtain documents in the lawsuit.
The president’s lawyers said they would oppose that request and a hearing is set for later this month.
Balsamo reported from Orlando, Florida. Associated Press journalist Catherine Lucey in Washington contributed to this report.