News & Politics

Judge Scolds Michael Cohen While Slapping Down His Request for a Gag Order on Michael Avenatti

The president's attorney tried to shut up one of his fiercest critics through a judicial order.

Photo Credit: MSNBC

Michael Avenatti will be allowed to continue his media campaign promoting his client's lawsuit against President Donald Trump and lawyer Michael Cohen after a judge slapped down a request for a gag order on Friday.

Cohen had requested the gag order Thursday to prevent Avenatti from speaking publicly about the case. In a court filing, Cohen's lawyers claimed Avenatti's media appearances will "result in Mr. Cohen being deprived of his right to a fair trial, and threatens to turn what should be a solemn Federal Court proceeding into a media circus."

Avenatti represents Stormy Daniels, a porn star whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, in her lawsuit against Cohen and Trump which aims to overturn a hush money agreement she signed to stay quiet about an affair she says she had with the president. Avenatti has become a staple of cable news in recent months and frequently criticizes Trump and Cohen on air.

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In Judge James Otero's order released on Friday, he noted that Cohen's request had to demonstrate "irreparable injury" to obtain the gag order, which it failed to do. But in a footnote, he also scolded Cohen for making the frivolous request.

Such requests, the judge notes, "throw the system out of whack. They impose an unnecessary burden on the court and an unnecessary adversarial burden on opposing counsel who are required to make a hurried response under pressure, usually for no good reason." The order also says that such requests are "discouraged."

"The Court found [Cohen and his lawyer] Mr. Blakely failed to show any need for immediate relief," Avenatti said on Twitter. The previous night, he had said of the motion: "The motion for a gag order is a complete joke and baseless," he said. "Mr. Cohen and Brent Blakely can’t deal with the truth, the facts, and the law, so they have to resort to unethical, meritless motions."

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.