Michael Cohen may have bought Stormy Daniels’ silence, but he’s giving his for free as her civil lawsuit against him winds its way through the justice system.
Cohen, Trump’s longtime attorney, declared Wednesday that he will invoke his right to remain silent in Daniels’ civil case on the grounds that he might incriminate himself in the ongoing federal investigation that saw his office and hotel raided by the FBI earlier this month. Investigators are looking into allegations that Cohen bought the silence of at least two women who say they had affairs with the president.
"Based upon the advice of counsel, I will assert my Fifth Amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and US Attorney for the Southern District of New York," Cohen said.
Speaking of that looming federal investigation, Trump is apparently eager to talk to prosecutors — through his lawyers. According to documents filed around the same time as Cohen’s declaration Wednesday, the president intends to participate personally as his defense lawyers spar over what, if any, information gathered in the Cohen raid should be shielded by attorney-client privilege.
“Our client will make himself available, as needed, to aid in our privilege review on his behalf,” attorneys Joanna Hendon, Christopher Dysard, and Reed Keefe wrote in the filing.
The news comes just weeks after federal investigators seized files from Cohen’s apartment, the office space he used at the Squire Patton Boggs firm in Rockefeller Center, and his hotel room at the Loews Regency hotel in Midtown.
In his filing Wednesday, Cohen also indicated “various electronic devices” of his had been seized by authorities.
Cohen's declaration was filed as part of a legal push to halt proceedings in ongoing civil litigation between him and the porn star Stormy Daniels, who says the lawyer bought her silence in the lead up to the 2016 election.
A significant portion of the raid was reportedly focused on documents related to two women — Daniels and Playboy bunny Karen McDougal. Both claim to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.
Investigators are also scrutinizing Cohen’s involvement in the New York City taxi industry, where he owned at least 34 of the city’s 13,000 medallions — licenses to operate cabs that were, until the advent of Uber, worth about a million a piece. Cohen’s checkered history in the taxi business resulted in the state filing several tax liens against him and his business associates earlier this month.
Cover image: Getty
This article originally appeared on VICE News US.