LOS ANGELES (CN) – President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen has asked a federal judge to prevent porn actress Stormy Daniels’ attorney from speaking to the press and releasing information to the public, according to court papers filed Thursday evening.
Cohen’s attorney Brent Blakely filed a restraining order in federal court in Los Angeles seeking to stop Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti from “communicating with the press and/or public regarding the merits of this case,” according to the filing.
Avenatti, the motion alleges, is depriving Cohen of the right to a fair trial by participating in television news interviews – driven by a “seemingly unquenchable thirst for publicity” – where “he routinely denigrates” Cohen with claims of criminal conduct.
Avenatti’s interviews, appearances on late-night shows and tweets all “threatens to turn what should be a solemn Federal Court proceeding into a media circus,” the motion said.
Blakely’s office did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday night.
Writing on Twitter after the motion was filed, Avenatti said the request for a restraining order was an attempt to prevent him from providing information and documents to news media.
“The motion for a gag order is a complete joke and baseless,” Avenatti said. “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. This must be their birthday present to Mr. Trump.”
Trump turned 72 years old Thursday.
Avenatti has already been asked by U.S District Judge Kimba Wood – who is presiding over the federal case in the Southern District of New York probing Cohen’s business dealings – to “cease his publicity tour” if he wanted to represent Daniels in the case.
“Demonstrating his true colors, Mr. Avenatti instead chose to withdraw his application” to represent Daniels, the motion said.
Avenatti sought to appear in the case to ensure that communications from Daniels to Cohen were protected by attorney-client privilege as attorneys combed through evidence seized in the raid on Cohen’s office, home and hotel room.
Daniels, whose birth name is Stephanie Clifford, says Cohen paid her $130,000 to keep quiet during the 2016 presidential election about a one-night stand she claims to have had with Trump in 2006 in Lake Tahoe.
Her lawsuit against Trump, Cohen and Essential Consultants – a company Cohen set up to facilitate the payment – argues the nondisclosure agreement she signed is invalid since Trump never signed it. She has offered to repay the money to Cohen.
Daniels sued to get out of the agreement and added defamation claims over statements Trump and Cohen have made about her and the agreement in the press and on Twitter.
Trump and the White House continue to deny the affair with Daniels took place.
On May 16, the Office of Government Ethics released Trump’s financial disclosure form which notes a reimbursement to Cohen for the payment to Daniels.
The report described a 2016 expense incurred by Cohen in the amount of $100,001 to $250,000.
Daniels asked U.S. District Judge James Otero of the Central District of California on May 24 to reconsider an order delaying her lawsuit to void the hush agreement.
Otero granted the 90-day delay on April 27 over concerns regarding criminal proceedings involving Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen and that his Fifth Amendment rights would be violated since Cohen is also a defendant in Daniels’ lawsuit.
A hearing on Daniels’ May 24 motion is set for June 21.