Adult film star Stormy Daniels was scheduled to meet Monday with federal prosecutors probing the activities of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, but prosecutors canceled the session after word leaked to the media, Daniels’ attorney said Sunday night.
Daniels was expected to sit down with attorneys from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which oversaw raids in April that seized millions of paper and electronic records from Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.
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However, after press reports Sunday about the planned meeting, prosecutors backed away, Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti disclosed on Twitter.
“So I was just informed by the US Attys office that they are canceling the mtg tmrw scheduled with me and my client (for weeks) because the press found out about the mtg and they can’t handle a few cameras outside their offices,” Avenatti wrote. “If they consider this a big deal, how will they ever bring any serious criminal charges against Cohen et al., let alone handle a trial, in such a high profile matter? We have bent over backwards to accommodate them. This is unheard of.”
Avenatti also posted online an email he sent prosecutors Sunday night calling “ridiculous” their decision to put off the meeting. He also offered to meet them in a location away from their office, if necessary.
A spokesman for the prosecutors initially declined to comment on the meeting, first reported by the Washington Post. The spokesman did not immediately respond to a follow-up message early Monday seeking comment on the cancellation.
The federal prosecutors’ probe into Cohen is known to involve allegations of bank and wire fraud, as well as possible campaign finance law violations related to a $130,000 payment Cohen orchestrated to Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election. Daniels has said the payment was “hush money” aimed at keeping her quiet about a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 and their communications thereafter.
Trump has denied any sexual affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Some campaign finance law experts have said the timing of the $130,000 payment suggests that its primary purpose was to avoid potential damage to Trump’s presidential bid in its final weeks. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has said the payment was personal in nature, not political, so it could not have violated federal law.
Despite a swirl of allegations, Cohen has not been charged with any crime.
Trump acknowledged in a financial disclosure filed last month that Cohen incurred an expense in 2016 on Trump’s behalf in an amount of between $100,001 and $250,000. The form said Trump was not legally required to disclose the debt, which was missing from a form Trump filed the previous year.
Daniels has filed two lawsuits against Trump. One brought in Los Angeles seeks to void the “hush money” deal she signed in 2016 with Cohen, which Trump never signed. The other suit, filed in New York, accuses Trump of defamation for suggesting on Twitter that she fabricated a story about being threatened to keep quiet about her experience with Trump. It’s unclear whether the alleged threat is part of the federal investigation.
A former attorney for Daniels, Keith Davidson, has also confirmed that he is cooperating with the federal authorities investigating Cohen.