Michael Cohen, the personal attorney for President Trump, has said he will plead the Fifth in a lawsuit with adult-film star Stormy Daniels due to an ongoing criminal investigation in New York, according to court documents.
The formal declaration was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
In it, Cohen noted the April 9 FBI raid on his home, office and hotel room, during which he said the agency seized “various electronic devices and documents in my possession, which contain information relating to the $130,000 payment to Plaintiff Stephanie Clifford at the center of this case, and my communications with counsel, Brent Blakely, relating to this action.”
He continued to say that “based upon the advice of counsel” he would be pleading the Fifth “in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”
Cohen asked a judge to delay the civil case 90 days following the FBI raid. Federal prosecutors in New York said they are investigating Cohen's personal business dealings.
This comes as attorneys for the president informed a federal judge on Wednesday that Trump would “make himself available, as needed” to look over materials seized in the FBI raid to ensure the protection of privileged information, ABC News reported.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford and is referenced by Cohen in the filing, has claimed that she had a one-time sexual encounter with the president in 2006 and was paid $130,000 by Cohen in the days before the 2016 presidential election as part of a nondisclosure agreement she has sought to invalidate in order to speak freely.
Daniels has offered to return the $130,000 and argues the agreement is legally invalid because it was signed by her and Cohen, not by Trump.
Daniel’s attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted that Cohen’s filing was “a stunning development.”
“Never before in our nation’s history has the attorney for the sitting President invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the President,” Avenatti said. “It is esp. stunning seeing as MC served as the 'fixer' for Mr. Trump for over 10 yrs.”
“And yes, my record of prediction stays intact,” he continued. “We will keep shooting until we miss.”
Fox News Jodie Curtis, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.