Politics

Michael Avenatti Sees His Opening, Vows To Question Trump Under Oath

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Stephanie Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti said he expects to question President Donald Trump under oath Wednesday morning, as the porn star’s civil suit against Trump may soon resume after Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to a battery of crimes in federal court.

Clifford, who appears in pornographic films under the name “Stormy Daniels,” sued the president in March, but her case has been on hold since late April. Now that Cohen has alleged Trump directed him to coordinate a $130,000 payment for Clifford as part of his plea deal — which may amount to an unreported in-kind campaign contribution — Avenatti expects Clifford’s lawsuit will proceed in short order.

“We’re going to get all of the facts and all of the evidence, we’re going to take his deposition under oath, we’re going to lay that all out for the American people, and ultimately they’re going to decide the fate of Donald Trump,” he said.

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“[The American people] should join us in the countdown to me deposing Michael Cohen and the president of the United States and disclosing all of it publicly because we’re coming,” he added.

A judge in Los Angeles stayed Clifford’s civil suit in April given the ongoing criminal inquiry into Cohen. Civil suits are usually placed on hold when they overlap with an ongoing criminal matter — defendants often cannot respond to civil claims without incriminating themselves or compromising their criminal defense.

Avenatti initially attempted to intervene in the Cohen inquiry, but later withdrew his motion when a federal judge publicly reprimanded him for his conduct. (RELATED: Judge Gives Avenatti A Choice: Give Up TV Or Leave My Courtroom)

Trump’s attorneys have counter-sued Clifford, and are seeking to collect $20 million in damages pursuant to the terms of a hush agreement, which provides that Clifford would pay stiff financial penalties for speaking publicly about her sexual encounter with the president.

Asked for his ultimate gloss on the day, Avenatti said the president’s legal exposure in the Clifford case increased dramatically.

“It means the president is in a lot of trouble — and it means we’re coming for him,” Avenatti said.

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