A deposition to be given by former President Donald Trump in a lawsuit against his former attorney, Michael Cohen, has been sealed by a judge’s order on Friday, according to a report.
Trump is suing Cohen, his personal lawyer of 11 years from the Fall of 2006 to early 2017, for allegedly violating attorney-client privilege when he made public statements against him in several fora — including in media appearances, his book and on podcasts. On Friday, U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres of the Southern District of Florida ordered that the deposition’s written transcript and video recording be sealed pending further proceedings, according to a report by Politico.
Trump is seeking $500 million from Cohen in damages, which include Cohen’s revealing of discussions with Trump regarding payments made to Stephanie Clifford, a pornographic film actress who goes by the name of “Stormy Daniels,” according to his complaint. It is highly unlikely that Cohen — who was imprisoned on federal convictions regarding campaign finance violations, tax evasion and false statements, as well as disbarred as an attorney — has $500 million to pay Trump in damages.
Trump’s attorney Alejandro Brito argued that the seal was necessary to protect privileged information regarding his contact with Cohen, beyond what Cohen had revealed in an alleged violation of attorney-client privilege, per the report. Brito also asked that certain documents to be obtained during discovery be sealed, such as Trump’s tax returns, his emails and text messages to and from his wife, former First Lady Melania Trump, as well as those between Trump and Daniels.
Releasing those documents would be “circus fodder” for the press, Brito said, per the report. Torres has not yet made a final decision on sealing discovery documents.
The lawsuit is one of several legal proceedings involving Trump, which have received international attention. Trump is currently under a felony indictment in two jurisdictions — New York, for allegedly falsifying business records related to Cohen’s activity, and federally in the Southern District of Florida, where he was charged under the Espionage Act for mishandling highly classified documents containing U.S. military secrets, which he did not return after his presidential term expired.
Trump also announced on Tuesday that he expected to be indicted by Special Counsel Jack Smith regarding efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost to Joe Biden.
Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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