Earlier this week, Michael Avenatti, lawyer for Stormy Daniels, made a bold move in asking the court to allow depositions of President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen in Daniels’ lawsuit over the nondisclosure agreement she made to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.
On Friday, the court shot down the request, saying it was too early for such an issue to be raised in the first place. Judge S. James Otero also had some choice words for Avenatti’s methods.
Cohen, via EC, LLC (the company that paid Daniels $130,000 to remain silent) has indicated that he plans on filing a petition to send the matter to arbitration, based on a clause in Daniels’ agreement that says any dispute under the agreement shall be decided by an arbitrator instead of the court system.
In Daniels’ motion, Avenatti argued that the arbitration agreement itself was invalid, and therefore the court should hear the case. The problem, the court said, is that Daniels isn’t in a position to fight arbitration yet, because Cohen has yet to even file his petition to send the case there.
“While EC and Mr. Trump have stated their intention to file a petition to compel arbitration, they have not yet done so,” the court said in its decision.
The judge also took a couple of digs at Avenatti, not being pleased with his request, which asked for expedited discovery and an expedited jury trial. In a footnote, Otero said the following:
The parties are advised that the instant litigation is not the most important matter on the Court’s docket. Requests for expedited proceedings, hearings, and discovery not clearly supported by the record and law are discouraged.
In an earlier footnote, the court also pointed out that Avenatti’s motion went over the page limit that the court set, and advised everyone in the case to “carefully review” the rules.
That’s not to say that Avenatti didn’t raise valid issues in his motion, or that he can’t try again later when the time is right. Still, the court noted that when and if Cohen files a petition to send the case to arbitration, the petition could include information that answers Avenatti’s questions. In such a case, his need for discovery, including depositions, would be lessened.
“We will refile the motion as soon as DT, MC, and EC, LLC file their motion to compel arbitration seeking to hide the facts from public view,” Avenatti said in a statement. “We expect this any day.”
[Image via MSNBC screengrab]