- Lucas Jackson/Reuters
- President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen said he will assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in connection with a lawsuit filed by adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
- The development comes as Cohen faces a criminal investigation related to his business dealings.
- Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels is among the investigative threads that federal investigators are exploring in his case.
President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen said he will assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in connection with a lawsuit filed by adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
In a filing in a California federal court on Wednesday, Cohen said he decided to invoke his constitutional right after the FBI raided his properties two weeks ago. The FBI reportedly launched an investigation into Cohen for possible bank fraud, wire fraud, and violations of election law.
“The [FBI] executed three search warrants on my residence, office and hotel room, respectively, without any prior notice,” Cohen said in the latest court filing.
He continues: “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 US attorney for the Southern District of New York,” Cohen’s filing continued.
Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was also being looked into by federal investigators. The payment was made in 2016, prior to the US presidential election, as part of a nondisclosure agreement surrounding an alleged affair between Clifford and Trump.
Cohen’s communications with Trump and other clients were also reportedly seized by the FBI, which reportedly collected 10 physical boxes of evidence. Authorities were also to copy electronic files, such as hard drives, on the spot.
Trump, Cohen’s premier client, has previously taunted people who plead the Fifth Amendment.
“The mob takes the Fifth,” Trump said in 2016, referencing several people who pleaded the Fifth Amendment during an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers during her time as secretary of state.
Trump asked at the time: “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”