Michael Cohen tried to gag Stormy Daniels and her celebrity lawyer

  • A federal judge denied Michael Cohen's request for a gag order on Stormy Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti.
  • Cohen, Donald Trump's former lawyer, wanted to stop Daniels and Avenatti from discussing their case against Trump with the public.
  • Cohen claimed that Avenatti had been running a "smear campaign" against him.
  • Daniels and Avenatti are suing Trump to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement and allow them to talk about an alleged affair.
  • The agreement was signed in exchange for $130,000, which Cohen was instrumental in organising.

A federal judge has denied a request from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's to prevent porn star Stormy Daniels and her lawyer from discussing their case against Donald Trump with the public and media.

U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero denied Cohen's request for a gag order, filed this June, on Tuesday.

The former Trump lawyer had hoped to stop Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, from making public statements including those on Cohen's character and credibility, witness identity and testimonies, the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

Avenatti is extremely outspoken on Twitter, and has become a celebrity figure, making numerous appearances on national TV.

Cohen claimed that Avenatti had effectively been running a "smear campaign" against him.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is trying to sue Trump to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement she signed, days before the 2016 presidential election.

In exchange for signing, she received $130,000 routed through Cohen's company, Essential Consultants LLC. She alleges that she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which Trump denies.

She is also suing Trump and Cohen for defamation.

What Stormy Daniels has said about her affair with Trump
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What Stormy Daniels has said about her affair with Trump

She says: In Touch never paid her for her story

Daniels says she was never paid the $15,000 she was originally offered by In Touch for the story of her alleged affair with Trump.

She says: Her sexual encounter with Trump was consensual

Daniels had said during the "60 Minutes" interview that she didn't want to have sex with Trump – but when asked by Anderson Cooper if the encounter with Trump was consensual, the adult film star responded affirmatively, saying, "yes, yes."

She says: Trump's lawyer threatened her and her daughter

As she detailed the aftermath of the alleged affair, Stormy Daniels -- whose real name is Stephanie Clifford -- described a moment in a Las Vegas parking lot when a man threatened her:

"And a guy walked up on me and said to me, 'Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.' And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, 'That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom.' And then he was gone."

She says: Trump compared her to Ivanka

"He was like, 'Wow, you — you are special. You remind me of my daughter,'" Daniels told "60 Minutes." "You know — he was like, 'You're smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you.'"

She says: Trump "brushed aside" his relationship with Melania

When asked by Anderson Cooper about Trump's marriage to Melania Trump, Daniels said Trump "brushed aside" any concern surrounding his marital vows. She said he spoke of his marriage to Daniels, saying:

"Oh yeah, yeah, you know, don’t worry about that. We don’t even—we have separate rooms and stuff."

She says: She spanked Trump with a magazine with Trump on the cover

Stormy Daniels confirmed in her "60 Minutes" interview the earlier report that she had spanked Trump with a magazine featuring himself on the cover.

She says: She was paid $130,000 in hush money

Michael Cohen has confirmed that he paid Stephanie Clifford $130,000 11 days before the 2016 election. A former chairman of the Federal Election Commission has since said this payment may have been illegal.


In the application for the gag order, Cohen's lawyer, Brent Blakely, cited more than 170 TV appearances and 439 tweets in which Avenatti discussed the case. Cohen also accused Avenatti of spreading private financial records of people sharing the same name as Cohen.

Avenatti is a prolific tweeter, and has posted multiple tweets calling into question Cohen's credibility and calling him a "co-conspirator dishonest thug."

But Otero on Tuesday ruled that Cohen failed to demonstrate how Avenatti's statements would impact Cohen's right to a fair trial on Daniels' case against Trump, particularly since no trial date has been set, so any objections are still only abstract.

"It is far from clear that the publicity in this case would affect the outcome of a trial that may happen, if at all, months down the road," Otero wrote. He added that the trial would concern Trump, Daniels, and Essential Consultants LLC, rather than Cohen himself.

Otero did, however, raise concerns of what he called "the extent and manner of Mr. Avenatti's publicity tour," but said its effects were "far less consequential" that the current federal investigation into Cohen's businesses in New York.

Cohen is currently the focus of a federal investigation in the Southern District of New York into whether he violated campaign-finance laws, committed bank fraud or wire fraud, engaged in illegal lobbying, or participated in other crimes.

Otero extended a delay on the Daniels' trial against Trump for another 45 days due to that investigation into Cohen.

Avenatti tweeted following the release of the judgement: "So much winning from these two," sarcastically referring to Trump and Cohen.



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