The lawyer for Stormy Daniels, the adult film star suing the president, called it a ‘stunning development’ when Michael Cohen filed a statement pleading his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
Here’s what happened
In a filing in court Wednesday, President Trump’s personal lawyer said that he would be asserting his Fifth Amendment rights against being compelled to testify against himself.
“Based upon the advice of counsel,” Cohen said in the filing, “I will assert my 5th amendment rights 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 cited the FBI raids on his residence, his office, and his hotel room on April 9. The raids were as a result of a criminal referral by special counsel Robert Mueller from his investigations into Russian election interference and alleged collusion with the Trump campaign.
“A stunning development”
“This is a stunning development,” tweeted Avenatti. “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.”
This is 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. It is esp. stunning seeing as MC served as the “fixer” for Mr. Trump for over 10 yrs. #basta
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 25, 2018
“It is esp. stunning seeing as MC served as the ‘fixer’ for Mr. Trump for over 10 yrs,” he added.
“I don’t think it can be overstated, Don, the importance of this and the magnitude of what we’re talking about here,” Avenatti explained to Don Lemon on CNN. “We’re not talking about an average citizen taking the Fifth Amendment here, we’re not talking about an average attorney taking the Fifth Amendment.”
“That is a serious, serious admission,” he concluded.
Cohen is a central figure in the lawsuit from Daniels against Trump as he admits that he gave her $130,000 days before the election. Cohen says that the president did not know about the payment, and that he made it from his personal funds, but many believe that it could have run afoul of campaign financing laws.
“The mob takes the Fifth.”
Critics of the president took the occasion to post videos of Trump mocking Hillary Clinton campaign members who plead the Fifth. “The mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why do you take the Fifth Amendment?” he said during a 2016 campaign speech.
Avenatti also posted the president’s comments in a link on his social media account, adding, “At this moment, I think it is critically important that we remember this.”
Here’s the CNN video report on the development: