VOA News

U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer plans to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a lawsuit filed against him by adult-film star Stormy Daniels.

Michael Cohen said in a brief filed Wednesday in a California court that he decided to invoke his constitutional right after the FBI raided his home, office and hotel room earlier this month.

The raids sought documents relating to Daniels and other matters.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing Cohen for defamation for suggesting that she lied about an alleged affair with Trump.

Cohen has admitted paying Daniels $130,000 in hush money just weeks before the 2016 presidential election. Cohen has said he paid Daniels out of his own pocket and that then-candidate Trump had no knowledge of the transaction.

Some legal experts said the payment could be construed as an illegal campaign contribution.

Trump denied knowing about the payment and has also denied there was an affair.

Daniels is suing Trump and Cohen in hopes of being freed from a nondisclosure agreement. Her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, had previously told reporters that he expected Cohen to plead the Fifth Amendment, but it was not official until the court filing Wednesday.

Along with making the payment to Daniels, Cohen also negotiated a $150,000 payment in 2016 to Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who also says she had an affair with Trump.