President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, said Wednesday that he will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the suit brought by adult film star Stormy Daniels, who says she was paid to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump.
Daniels — whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford — filed a suit against Trump and Cohen in March, seeking to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement relating to an alleged affair she had with Trump in 2006. In the days before the 2016 presidential election, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence about the alleged affair. Trump has denied the affair and denied knowledge of the payment.
FBI agents raided Cohen’s office and hotel room in New York City on April 9, seizing documents as part of a criminal investigation into Cohen’s business dealings.
“During the corresponding raids, the FBI seized various electronic devices and documents in my possession, which contain information relating to the $130,000 payment to Plaintiff Stephanie Clifford at the center of this case, and my communications with counsel, Brent Blakely, relating to this action,” Cohen said in the filing on Wednesday.
“Based upon the advice of counsel, I will assert my 5th amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”
The Fifth Amendment states that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, called Cohen’s decision to plead the fifth a “stunning development” in the case.