LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday denied porn actress Stormy Daniels’ request to reconsider delaying her legal fight against President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer.
U.S. District Judge S. James Otero’s decision came weeks after Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, argued that the judge should reconsider his order from April delaying the case and force Trump to answer questions under oath and allow him to obtain documents in the lawsuit.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex once with Trump in 2006 and carried on a platonic relationship with him for about a year and is suing to dissolve a confidentiality agreement that prevents her from discussing it. She argues the nondisclosure agreement should be invalidated because Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, signed it, but the president did not.
Trump has denied any sexual relationship with Daniels.
Cohen sought a delay in the case after his home and office were raided by the FBI in April. The agents were seeking records about the nondisclosure agreement that Daniels had signed, among other things. Cohen argued the criminal investigation overlaps with issues in the lawsuit and his right against self-incrimination could be adversely affected because he won’t be able to respond and defend himself.
Otero agreed in April to delay the case for 90 days, citing the criminal investigation that Cohen is facing.
Avenatti argues that new evidence in the case — mainly statements made by Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani about the Cohen investigation — meant there could be “less drastic measures” the judge should consider, instead of the complete stay of the case.
Avenatti said he’d agree not to take sworn testimony from Cohen during the 90-day period and instead wanted to depose Trump, who he says is not under investigation for his dealings with Stormy Daniels.
But Otero said in Tuesday’s ruling that there wasn’t sufficient legal evidence to reverse the prior order.
In his ruling, the judge found there was no evidence that Cohen was being “disingenuous or unreasonable” when he said he would assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.