Watch CBSN Live

Michael Cohen seeking restraining order against Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' lawyer

Michael Cohen feeling isolated, pressured

Michael Cohen, President Trump's longtime personal attorney, has filed a request for a restraining order from a Southern California court against Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The order would require Avenatti, who has made frequent media appearances this year since Daniels' story became public, to stop speaking to the press.

Cohen, who is under criminal investigation, alleges Avenatti's "publicity tour" is denying Cohen the "right to a fair trial." In May, Avenatti withdrew his petition to participate in the Cohen's case after Judge Kimba Wood told him he'd have to stop his "publicity tour."

Cohen's motion cited interviews Avenatti gave as recently as Wednesday on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," "The Lead with Jake Tapper" and "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell." The filing alleges Avenatti has made at least 121 media appearance since March 2018. 

On Twitter, Avenatti called the motion a request for a "gag order," and asked "will the media allow it?" "The motion for a gag order is a complete joke and baseless," he continued.

Days before Election Day in 2016, Cohen paid Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 through a shell company called Essential Consultants to stay quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Mr. Trump in 2006. When the story broke about the payment earlier this year, Cohen said he paid Daniels with his own money and Mr. Trump did not know about it.

Daniels has sued to get out of a nondisclosure agreement regarding her alleged encounter with Mr. Trump, and she is suing Cohen for defamation. In May, Avenatti publicly released Cohen's bank records, which showed American companies and foreign interests had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the same shell company Cohen used to pay Daniels. The payments were allegedly for access to Mr. Trump. 

Federal authorities raided Cohen's home and offices in April, working off a tip from special counsel Robert Mueller. Avenatti believes Daniels' name and information were included in the communications and documents seized by the FBI.

CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reported Thursday that Cohen believes his allies and Mr. Trump are turning against him. Sources familiar with Cohen's legal problems said he is increasingly feeling isolated from Mr. Trump and his allies, and Cohen appears to be moving closer to a legal strategy of cooperating with investigators given the gulf that now exists between him and Mr. Trump. 

Within days of the April 9 raid, Mr. Trump's allies publicly debated whether Cohen would hold up to the scrutiny and whether he would then cave and cooperate with investigators.  

Cohen has also been a key figure in some of the Trump Organization business deals including one that would have led to a Trump Tower in Moscow. But since 2016, Cohen's activities have been under scrutiny by the FBI. He was prominently mentioned in the unsubstantiated dossier compiled by a former British spy which alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. Cohen has dismissed the allegations in the dossier and he has repeatedly maintained that he has done nothing illegal.