A federal judge in Los Angeles has set a hearing for Friday on a bid by President Donald Trump and his embattled personal attorney Michael Cohen to delay a lawsuit filed by porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump about a decade ago.
U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero scheduled the hearing after attorneys for Trump and Cohen said the suit should be put on hold for 90 days because of the criminal investigation federal prosecutors in New York are pursuing into Cohen’s involvement in various matters, including a $130,000 pre-election payment to Daniels.
Otero did not explain in detail why he is convening the first hearing in the case, filed by Daniels last month in an attempt to have the alleged “hush money“ deal declared invalid. Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti has argued that the agreement was never consummated, in large part because Trump never signed it.
In a brief order Wednesday, Otero — an appointee of President George W. Bush — said simply that a hearing on the stay request “is warranted.”
Last week, the FBI raided Cohen’s Manhattan apartment, office and a hotel room he was using temporarily. Agents had court-issued search warrants authorizing them to collect papers and electronic records on a variety of topics, including the payment to Daniels. Attorneys for Cohen and Trump say the raids intruded on attorney-client privilege.
The lawyers are pressing a judge in Manhattan to order the government to return the files.
U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood is also considering appointing a special master to oversee the process of separating confidential information from records prosecutors are entitled to see.