Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, said in a court filing on Wednesday that he would plead the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the lawsuit brought by porn star Stormy Daniels. 

Michael Cohen Invokes Fifth Amendment

This marks a major turn in the case involving Daniels, whom Cohen — Trump’s longtime friend and fixer — paid $130,000 before the 2016 election to force her silence on an extramarital affair the former Apprentice star had with her in 2006. The case is being heard in Manhattan.

Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti said on Twitter that Cohen’s decision is a “stunning development.”

Avenatti also said earlier this week that he believes Trump would not be able to finish his term as president, and also that he thinks Cohen will eventually turn on his client. Daniels’ lawyer told CNN that he is confident Cohen’s latest decision will greatly benefit his side. The latter prediction is one that several reporters and legal experts have wondered about, with some going as far to say that Cohen could not only cooperate with federal prosecutors, but also wear a wire.


It was also recently revealed that Cohen enlisted Fox News host Sean Hannity as a client. Hannity said he only sought legal advice from Cohen and never hired him as a lawyer or paid him.

The Fifth Amendment is usually invoked when someone does not wish to risk incriminating themselves in court. It also states the right to due process, among other things.

The Constitution states: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

S. James Otero, the judge in the Los Angeles case, is in the process of assessing whether there is any overlap between the recent FBI raids of Cohen’s office, home and hotel room in New York, and the civil case pertaining to Daniels. The porn star is hoping to void a non-disclosure agreement she and Trump signed about their affair, a deal she says is invalid because the real estate mogul never actually signed it.

Trump has repeatedly denied the affair and knowledge of where the money paid to Daniels came from. On Tuesday, he dismissed a reporter’s question about whether he would pardon Cohen as “stupid.”

According to CNN, Cohen and his lawyer Brent Blakely are attempting to move the Daniels civil case to private arbitration.

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