Trump's personal lawyer Cohen loses bid for quick Avenatti gag order

Trump's personal lawyer Cohen loses bid for quick Avenatti gag order

By Brendan O'Brien and Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, on Friday lost his bid for an emergency gag order to stop Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, from maligning him in frequent media appearances.

In a brief order, U.S. District Judge James Otero in Los Angeles said Cohen had not shown he would face "immediate, irreparable injury" without an immediate restraining order.

The judge also admonished Cohen in a footnote, saying such requests "throw the system out of whack" by creating more work for the court, forcing adversaries to respond in a hurry and allowing some litigants to "cut in line" ahead of others.

A lawyer for Cohen, Brent Blakely, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a filing on Thursday night, Cohen and Blakely said Avenatti's attacks threatened to turn the case into a "media circus" and undermine Cohen's ability to get a fair trial.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, had sued Cohen and Trump on March 6 to get out of an agreement under which Cohen paid her $130,000 not to discuss an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump. The president has denied having sex with Daniels.

According to the filing, Avenatti has talked about the case in at least 121 television appearances and 439 tweets.

Avenatti has "repeatedly denigrated Mr. Cohen, predicted that Mr. Cohen would be indicted for bank fraud, wire fraud, campaign finance violations, and accused Mr. Cohen of hiring a 'thug' to allegedly threaten Ms. Clifford," the filing said.

"As this court has probably already surmised," it added, "Mr. Avenatti's actions are mainly driven by his seemingly unquenchable thirst for publicity."

Otero's order did not address the merits of whether a restraining order should be granted. He gave Avenatti until June 25 to formally respond. Cohen can reply by July 2.

Avenatti posted the order on his Twitter feed, after having previously called the gag order request a "complete joke and baseless" in a tweet.

"Mr. Cohen and Brent Blakely can't deal with the truth, the facts, and the law, so they have to resort to unethical, meritless motions," Avenatti wrote.

A separate hearing in the case is scheduled for June 21.

Cohen's business practices, including the $130,000 payment to Daniels, are the subject of a separate federal criminal probe in New York.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Paul Tait, Larry King and Jonathan Oatis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.


Updated Date: Jun 16, 2018 00:07 AM

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