A federal judge on Friday said he is unlikely to issue a gag order to stop adult film star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, from publicly talking about a lawsuit against President Trump.
According to The Associated Press, a request for a gag order against attorney Michael Avenatti was made by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. Avenatti says he represents three women, including Daniels, who claim to have had relationships with Trump and were paid off ahead of the 2016 election.
Cohen is under investigation as part of a grand jury probe into his personal business dealings.. But he has claimed that Avenatti’s frequent public appearances could taint a possible jury.
U.S. District Judge S. James Otero, in a hearing over the order, did not immediately issue the request but said that it represents “serious business.” The judge said that the bar for a gag order is high, and that it doesn’t appear to have been met.
Cohen was behind a payment of $130,000 to Daniels in the months leading up to the election to stay quiet about an alleged tryst with Trump in 2006. Trump later reimbursed that payment, although he has denied any affair.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, has sued Trump for defamation for dismissing her account as a “con job” and is also suing to end the nondisclosure agreement she signed.
Avenatti disclosed he has other clients who say they had relationships with Trump, but did not disclose further details.
“There are three additional female clients of mine that have not been disclosed that were paid hush money prior to the 2016 election, whether it be from Michael Cohen on behalf of the president, an entity that Michael Cohen formed, or AMI,” Avenatti told KABC.
Cohen’s lawyer, requesting the order, accused Avenatti of being a “carnival magician.”
“Like a small-town carnival magician who attempts to confuse the audience with smoke and mirrors, Avenatti attempts to somehow justify his conduct by pulling the First Amendment out of his tiny bag of tricks while at the same time pointing his finger at others,” Brent Blakely wrote in requesting the order.
Earlier this week, a tape was leaked containing a conversation between Cohen and Trump about a possible payment to Playboy model Karen McDougal to buy the rights of her story that claimed an affair with Trump — although the payment was never made.
Avenatti said Trump and Cohen should disclose the information about the women and the alleged relationships themselves.
“They should release the information to the American people now,” Avenatti said. “Enough with the games.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.