A judge in the United States has put on hold a lawsuit filed by adult-film actor Stormy Daniels against President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Reuters reported on Friday. District Judge James Otero cited that lawyer Michael Cohen was under a criminal investigation and that his constitutional rights would be endangered if the lawsuit proceeded.
The attorney is being investigated for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, alleged that Cohen had paid her $130,000 (around Rs 84.4 lakh) on October 27, 2016 – a week before the presidential election – to keep her relationship with the president in 2006 a secret. In March, Clifford offered to return the money in exchange for freedom to “speak openly” about her decade-old affair with Trump.
The judge paused the actor’s case for 90 days. “The court finds that there is a large potential factual overlap between the civil and criminal proceedings that would heavily implicate Mr Cohen’s Fifth Amendment rights,” Otero said. The fifth amendment is a constitutional provision to protect against self-incrimination.
“This is no simple criminal investigation; it is an investigation into the personal attorney of a sitting president regarding documents that might be subject to the attorney-client privilege,” Otero wrote. “Whether or not an indictment is forthcoming, and the court thinks it likely based on these facts alone, these unique circumstances counsel in favor of stay.”
The actor’s lawyer said they would appeal against the stay order.