Trump's lawyer Cohen says to invoke constitutional rights in porn star case

Xinhua
US President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen said he will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the lawsuit filed by an adult film star against Trump.
Xinhua
AFP

Michael Cohen, longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, exits the United States District Court Southern District of New York, on April 16, 2018, in New York City.

US President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen said on Wednesday he will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the lawsuit filed by adult film star Stormy Daniels against Trump.

In a signed statement released in the federal court, Cohen said he will assert these rights "in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and US Attorney for the Southern District of New York."

The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution states that no individual can be "compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself."

Federal investigators raided Cohen's office, home and hotel room earlier this month and seized various electronic devices and documents, which Cohen says include information that he paid Daniels US$130,000 prior to the 2016 presidential elections so as to keep her silent about an affair with Trump.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has sued Trump over the hush agreement, claiming that it is void because Trump never signed it. She is also suing Cohen for defamation for suggesting that she lied about an alleged affair with Trump.

Cohen has denied that the agreement violated campaign finance laws, claiming the money was his own and he was never reimbursed. Trump has also denied the affair and any knowledge of the payment.

"This is a stunning development. Never before in our nation's history has the attorney for the sitting president invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the president," Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, tweeted later on Wednesday.

Cohen, who has been Trump's personal lawyer for years, reportedly has a role in aspects of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.


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