Prosecutors investigating Michael Cohen cancel meeting with Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels’ lawyer says the porn actress’ meeting with federal prosecutors in New York who are investigating President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer has been cancelled.

Michael Avenatti says he received a call late Sunday night from two prosecutors who said they were concerned about media interest in the interview and cancelled the meeting.

For several months, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan have been looking into whether Michael Cohen broke the law in any of his various business dealings — among them, a $130,000 (U.S.) payment he made to Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels.
For several months, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan have been looking into whether Michael Cohen broke the law in any of his various business dealings — among them, a $130,000 (U.S.) payment he made to Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels.  (Seth Wenig / The Associated Press file photo)

A person familiar with the matter had told The Associated Press that the meeting planned for Monday was in anticipation of a possible grand jury appearance. They are investigating the business interests of Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

The person wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex with Trump in 2006 when he was married. Trump has denied it.

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For several months, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan have been looking into whether Cohen broke the law in any of his various business dealings — among them, a $130,000 (U.S.) payment he made to Clifford in the run-up to the 2016 election that was meant to keep her quiet about the extramarital affair she claims she had with Trump.

Clifford has been co-operating with the prosecutors, including providing them with documents about the payment, in response to a subpoena, the person familiar with the case said.

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It was unclear exactly what Clifford planned to tell the prosecutors if the Monday meeting went ahead as planned. But legal experts have said that if the payment to her was intended to influence the presidential race by suppressing an explosive news story that could have damaged Trump’s election chances, it could be covered by federal campaign finance laws.

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This month, Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, filed a lawsuit against her former lawyer, Keith Davidson, accusing him of colluding with Cohen to quash the story about her alleged affair with the president, calling Davidson “a puppet” for Cohen and Trump.

Clifford may be able to tell the prosecutors whether the Trump campaign was ever specifically mentioned as Davidson and Cohen hashed out the details of the hush-money payment.

The Cohen investigation had been occurring in secret, as prosecutors went so far as to covertly read his emails. But it burst into the public eye in April when federal agents armed with search warrants conducted a series of early-morning raids on Cohen’s office, apartment and hotel room.

With files from Canadian Press