Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney of President Donald Trump, on Monday asked a federal judge in California to dismiss porn actress Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against him.
Daniels added the defamation complaint to her lawsuit against Trump last month, arguing that Cohen insinuated that she was a liar when he denied that Daniels and Trump had an affair in a February statement. Daniels is suing Trump over the hush agreement she signed barring her from discussing her alleged affair with Trump. She argues that the agreement is invalid because Trump never signed it.
In the motion to dismiss the charge on Monday, Cohen’s lawyer argued that Cohen’s statement was true, noting that Daniels at one point denied the affair with Trump. She has since detailed the alleged relationship and said she only denied the affair due to the hush agreement she signed. The statement was also a “hyperbolic expression,” not defamatory, Cohen’s lawyer argued. He also contended that Daniels did not suffer any damages as a result of Cohen’s statement, and that her income has actually increased due to media attention.
Lawyers for Cohen and Trump have pushed for the lawsuit filed by Daniels to be settled in private arbitration, but Daniels has pushed forward with the complaint. Over the weekend, her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, renewed a motion to depose both Trump and Cohen and to obtain documents from them about the hush agreement and Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels.
The FBI raided Cohen’s office on Monday and seized documents related to Cohen’s payment to Daniels, as well as records pertaining to other topics, according to the New York Times. The FBI obtained a search warrant following a warrant from special counsel Robert Mueller, per the Times.