President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen filed court papers Wednesday indicating his plan to exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination should he be called to testify in the lawsuit Stephanie Clifford, known as porn star Stormy Daniels, filed against the president.
Clifford is suing the president over the validity of a nondisclosure agreement she signed just before the 2016 presidential election that barred her from discussing a consensual affair she said she had with Trump in 2006. Cohen, long known as the president’s “fixer,” also issued a payment of $130,000 to Clifford that she called “hush money.”
Cohen’s declaration states that in light of the FBI’s raid on his home, office and hotel room earlier this month, his counsel has advised him to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights should he be called to testify in Clifford’s lawsuit.
The FBI reportedly seized records relating to Cohen’s payment to Daniels.
Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, called Cohen’s decision “stunning” in a statement posted to Twitter.
“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 tweeted. He also shared a Washington Post article from last year quoting Trump’s previous statements on invoking the Fifth Amendment.
“The mob takes the Fifth,” Trump said at an Iowa campaign rally in September 2016. “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”