Lawyers for Michael Cohen, the man often referred to as President Donald Trump’s “fixer,” will reportedly be seeking on Friday a gag order against adult film actress Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti.
As noted by ABC News, court filings from June show that Cohen’s legal team accusing Avenatti of defaming their client through over 170 television appearances and more than 500 tweets, where he supposedly accused Trump’s former personal lawyer of “various criminal acts” and of “being a moron.” Daniels’ lawyer was also described as a “small-town carnival magician” with an “unquenchable” appetite for publicity.
If the gag order requested by Michael Cohen’s lawyers is approved, Avenatti will be legally forbidden from making public comments about the Stormy Daniels case. Daniels, who is also known as Stephanie Clifford in real life, filed a lawsuit against Cohen and Trump in March, claiming that a non-disclosure agreement asking her to keep silent about an alleged sexual relationship she had with the president over 10 years ago should be voided for a number of reasons, including the lack of a signature from Trump. The lawsuit claims that Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 worth of “hush money” so she wouldn’t talk about the purported affair.
According to Reuters, Donald Trump has publicly denied the allegations he and Daniels had an affair in 2006 and 2007, justifying the hush money by saying she was paid off so she would stop making “false and extortionist” accusations against him.
In a court filing from last month, Michael Avenatti criticized the motion for the gag order, calling it a “baseless” violation of First Amendment rights through its restraint on free speech. According to ABC News, he has also continued to call Cohen out in interviews, despite reports suggesting Cohen has split from Trump and is willing to work with prosecutors.
Avenatti’s recent Twitter activity has also seen him repeatedly criticize Cohen and Trump, asking them to release all documents, tapes, and other information related to Cohen’s alleged hush-money payments to women who claimed they had affairs with the president.
Michael Cohen, formerly the president's personal lawyer, has claimed that then-candidate Donald Trump knew about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton before it happened, multiple sources confirmed to @ABC. https://t.co/4hlLNx2GU5 pic.twitter.com/Bo1rqAXRq1
— ABC News (@ABC) July 27, 2018
News of Friday’s hearing on the gag order comes shortly after reports suggested that representatives for Cohen and Avenatti had been meeting for the past several weeks on a possible settlement. Citing multiple unnamed sources, ABC News wrote that these talks apparently did take place, but had more recently broken down.
While both sides were reportedly due to meet earlier this week per Avenatti’s request, Cohen’s lawyer, Brent Blakely, told ABC News that the talks were canceled after Avenatti hinted on last Sunday’s edition of This Week with George Stephanopoulos that Cohen’s team might have divulged some information with him. These were claims Blakely vehemently denied when he spoke to ABC News on Thursday.
In reaction to the above denials and separate claims that Michael Avenatti committed ethical violations through his supposed discussions with Michael Cohen at a New York restaurant last week, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer called the accounts “complete nonsense” and an attempt on Cohen’s side to misleadingly portray him as a “patriot who loves his country.”