The motion for a restraining order, filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in California by Michael Cohen, accuses Avenatti of having a “seemingly unquenchable thirst for publicity” and argues that his frequent Twitter postings and TV appearances violate California rules of professional conduct for lawyers.
The publicity is “likely to result in Mr. Cohen being deprived of his right to a fair trial,” the motion reads. It “threatens to turn what should be a solemn Federal Court proceeding into a media circus.”
.. Brent H. Blakely, who filed the motion on Cohen’s behalf, alleges that since Daniels filed suit, Avenatti has made more than 120 media appearances and issued at least 439 tweets relating to the lawsuit or to Cohen. The motion claims that Avenatti has “repeatedly denigrated Mr. Cohen, predicted that Mr. Cohen would be indicted for bank fraud, wire fraud, campaign finance violations, and accused Mr. Cohen of hiring a ‘thug’ to allegedly threaten Ms. Clifford.”
As any longtime legal hand in the capital remembers well, it was a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by an Arkansas state employee, Paula Jones, against Bill Clinton that led to his impeachment for lying about his affair with Monica S. Lewinsky.
.. The case of the adult film actress, Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage-name Stormy Daniels, may not get past even the first considerable obstacles. But if her court case proceeds, Mr. Trump and his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, may have to testify in depositions
.. Ms. Clifford’s agreement with Mr. Cohen stipulated that they would resolve disputes in the confidential arbitration proceedings. Assuming she does not blink — and her lawyer has said she won’t — it will fall to a judge in Los Angeles, where the suit was filed, to decide whether to compel Ms. Clifford to return to arbitration or allow the case to go forward in court
.. “A lawsuit opens the door, and judges almost always allow for a plaintiff to have a fishing expedition,” said Robert S. Bennett, the Washington lawyer who represented Mr. Clinton in the Paula Jones case. The questions could include, “Have you paid other people money?” he said.
.. perhaps intending to broaden it later to include claims that Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen coerced her into silence. “If that happened,” he said, “they certainly could seek to depose Trump.”
And in that case, he said, “I can certainly imagine how it might get broader.
And if it did, the wide array of Trump’s sexual interactions could be addressed
.. Ms. Clifford’s signature on the contract, and acceptance of the money, could count as a clear sign of agreement.
.. But other legal experts were struck by the sweeping nature of the nondisclosure agreement Ms. Clifford signed, and expressed skepticism that it would hold up in court. Beyond the circumstances of the alleged sexual relationship, the agreement barred her from doing anything, even indirectly, to “publicly disparage” Mr. Trump... Ms. Clifford has claimed that she met Mr. Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in 2006 and began a relationship that included sex and promises from Mr. Trump to get her on his NBC show “The Apprentice” and to give her a condominium... Mr. Avenatti argues that because Mr. Trump did not sign it himself, the agreement is invalid — a point Mr. Super, the Georgetown professor, basically agreed with and Mr. Noble said might have merit... The extent to which Mr. Cohen was acting on his own in striking the agreement with Ms. Clifford and paying her is crucial.. Important factors in the case would include just how closely Mr. Cohen coordinated the payment to Ms. Clifford with Mr. Trump and whether it was intended to help the campaign avoid negative publicity... But in her suit, Ms. Clifford tries to implicate Mr. Trump in the transaction, saying the offer of money was intended to buy her silence to help “ensure he won the presidential election.”.. It could have simply been a personal matter, he said, of Mr. Trump wishing to keep a secret from his wife.
Mueller’s team said it learned last week that Manafort has been working with a Russian compatriot on a newspaper column that prosecutors say violates a gag order by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Attorneys in the case were instructed not to talk about it in public.
.. “Whenever you operate in uncharted legal territory, and this would be an example, you’d expect defense lawyers to push the envelope and edges.. In a case like Manafort’s, Mueller may be wise to hand it over to DOJ for prosecution.. But Rotunda also said a court is unlikely to give a defendant standing to object to Mueller’s jurisdiction. “The only entity that could object is the DOJ,” he said... U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has proposed should go to trial starting May 7.. Jackson also told the attorneys for Mueller and the defense that she’s considering issuing a gag order that limits the public statements both sides may make about the case... Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled last month in the special counsel’s favor when he tried to seek grand jury testimony from an attorney for Manafort and Gates... Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor, said that he expected defense lawyers representing indicted defendants to keep on challenging Mueller’s authority and jurisdiction. “I would also expect such challenges to be unavailing,” he said, “as Mueller’s authority to act is on firm legal ground.”