At times, it feels like Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, is poised to bring down the Trump administration all by himself. Democrats in Washington seem befuddled and powerless, the Mueller investigation is ominous yet seems to be one more cabinet shake-up away from being stopped, but Avenatti and Daniels have been out there holding Trump’s feet to the fire.
At least they seem to be trying, which is more than anyone can say about Chuck Schumer.
But while Avenatti seems to be brilliantly playing Trump in the Court of Public Opinion, actual court is its own, slow process.
Avenatti is now alleging that the nondisclosure agreement between Daniels and Michael Cohen (perhaps agreed to by Trump, perhaps done on Cohen’s own authority, depending on what you believe) was actually part of a criminal conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws. He seeks to avoid arbitration of the NDA and, towards that end, Avenatti moved for expedited discovery in the case.
Today, Judge S. James Otero (Central District of California) put the kibosh on any hopes that this would happen quickly. He said that Avenatti’s motion was premature given that Trump and Cohen’s shell company haven’t even responded to Avenatti’s amended complaint yet, nor have they officially filed to compel arbitration. Then, in what can only be termed as reckless disregard for the news cycle’s need to be constantly updated with porn star news, Otero said, “instant litigation is not the most important matter on the court’s docket.”
Federal judges, man. They’re so maddeningly… competent. Otero should have ordered Trump to be deposed while being tied to a maypole as Stormy does a fertility dance around him. THAT would have been good television. This… this is just boring “proper administration of justice” crap.
The game’s not over. Avenatti said he will refile his motion as soon as Team Trump does move to compel the arbitration, which they probably will at some point. But that’s going to take weeks. I guess we’ll have to go back to paying attention to all the other Trump scandals for a little bit.
Judge denies motion by Stormy Daniels’ attorney to depose Trump, Cohen [CNN]
Elie Mystal is the Executive Editor of Above the Law and the Legal Editor for More Perfect. He can be reached @ElieNYC on Twitter, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will resist.