Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Tump and his personal attorney Michael Cohen, on Wednesday filed a motion to depose both Trump and Cohen.
Daniels sued Trump and Essential Consulting, a business set up by Cohen to pay Daniels, over an alleged hush agreement Daniels signed with Essential Consulting barring her from discussing her alleged relationship with Trump. She argued that because Trump never signed the agreement, it is invalid and she is free to speak about her encounter with Trump. Daniels this week added Cohen to the lawsuit, accusing him of defaming her.
In the filing, Avenatti said that he would like to depose Trump and Cohen each for no longer than two hours. He also asked for no more than 10 “targeted requests for production of documents directed to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen on various topics relating to the Hush Agreement.” He said that he would like to depose the two men within three weeks of the court approving the motion.
In a separate filing submitted to support the request for depositions and discovery, Avenatti said that he spoke with counsel for Essential Consulting on March 21 and that the defense argued that there should not be any discovery in the case and that the case should be sent to arbitration.
Avenatti argued that discovery is necessary to resolve factual disputes between Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, and Cohen, including whether Trump new about and consented to the hush agreement, how Trump may have communicated with Cohen about the agreement and where the money used to pay Daniels for her silence originated from.
A lawyer for Cohen rebuffed the motion on Wednesday morning, telling ABC News that the case will never reach the discover phase “because the contract is valid on its face and the defamation action against Cohen is frivolous on its face”