LOS ANGELES (CN) – Citing the circumstances surrounding an attorney and a sitting president, a Los Angeles federal judge on Friday agreed to delay a lawsuit from adult film star Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had a brief affair with Donald Trump.
U.S. District Judge S. James Otero granted a delay in the lawsuit filed by Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, due to the uncertainty surrounding a criminal investigation involving Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
FBI agents raided Cohen’s New York office and residence on April 9, seeking records about a $130,000 payment to Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement stemming from her claim of the affair.
Cohen brokered the deal through a third-party limited liability company created for the agreement.
Meanwhile, Cohen is under federal criminal investigation in New York.
Cohen was given until Wednesday to declare his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by Otero last week.
Brent Blakely represented Cohen and Essential Consulting, the LLC created to broker the deal. Blakely asked in a Los Angeles federal courtroom for a three-month stay to the case in Los Angeles due to the purported overlap with the ongoing federal criminal investigation in New York.
On Friday, Otero’s ruling granted a hold and set a hearing for July 27. Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, said on Twitter he would appeal Otero’s ruling.
“Given the context and significance of the criminal proceedings, the Court agrees with Defendants that a temporary stay is warranted,” Otero wrote in the 9-page order.
“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.
He continued, “While the exact scope and breadth of the criminal investigation remains unclear, both the government and Mr. Cohen have indicated that the subject matter of the criminal investigation, and the documents seized, in some part reference the $130,000 payment made to Ms. Clifford pursuant to the agreement.”
Otero’s order comes just a day after Trump admitted on “Fox & Friends” that Cohen represented him “with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal,” pivoting from his previous denial of any knowledge about a nondisclosure agreement with Daniels.
Appearing in New York earlier in the week, Cohen claimed that the raid of his office and home could have swept up materials protected by attorney-client privilege. He requested earlier this month that U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood appoint a special master.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office argued meanwhile that their internal “taint team” could be trusted to conduct the review.