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Monday, April 23, 2018

Michael Cohen must make an affidavit

Por Damian

The personal lawyer of the US current President Donald Trump must declare in writing that his right against self-incrimination enshrined in the Fifth Amendment would be in jeopardy if the process related to the lawsuit of the porn actress Stormy Daniels is not postponed, a federal judge said last Friday.

The Los Angeles federal judge, S. James Otero, said there are "nooks and crannies" in Michael Cohen's request for postponement and that it is not enough for his lawyer to present him in his name. He gave Cohen until Wednesday to do it himself.

Daniels' lawsuit is aimed at nullifying a confidentiality agreement that prevents her from speaking about an alleged adventure she had with Trump. She has also sued Cohen for defamation.

Cohen sought to postpone civil trial for 90 days after FBI agents raided his office and residence in New York, looking for some record of the agreement Daniels signed days before the 2016 presidential election and for which she received 130,000 dollars.

Otero said that based on his experience and even without knowing the investigation, he considers "substantially probable" that there is some criminal action. "This is not an ordinary case," Otero added. "I would expect something to go on."

Cohen's attorney argues that the criminal investigation overlaps various aspects of the lawsuit, Cohen's right against self-incrimination "could be adversely affected if the case continues" because he could not respond or defend himself.

Otero noted that attorney Brent Blakely has not shown that several legal aspects overlap enough to justify a postponement, but stressed that the defense faces a problem because "the breadth and scope of the investigation is a mystery".

Michael Avenatti, Daniels' lawyer, said Cohen's decision not to present a statement before was "strategic and deliberate". Outside the court, Avenatti said it is "clear to me that Michael Cohen and the president do not want to publicly declare" Cohen's intention to take advantage of the Fifth Amendment.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has offered to return the 130,000 dollars so she can "clear things up". She claims that the agreement has no validity because it was only signed by her and Cohen, not by Trump.

Cohen, who has denied the venture with the president, said he paid 130,000 dollars out of his own pocket using a mortgage loan. Ensures that neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign team participated in the transaction and that no one reimbursed him for that expense.