Porn star Stormy Daniels was scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors in New York on Monday as part of a controversial investigation into President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, but the meeting was abruptly cancelled late Sunday after it was reported by news organizations, her attorney said.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was supposed to meet with prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan in preparation for a possible grand jury appearance as they work to assemble a case against Cohen.
The meeting was later scrubbed because of Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, who accused federal prosecutors of cancelling the meeting because tthey did not want cameras outside their offices.
“I was shocked at that response,” Avenatti said.
Avenatti offered to move the meeting to another location and reiterated that Daniels — who he says has been cooperating with prosecutors for months — was ready to go forward with the meeting, but they called back to cancel it, he said. The meeting has not been rescheduled and prosecutors offered no other explanation for the cancellation, he said.
“So I was just informed by the US Attys office that they are canceling the mtg tmrw scheduled with me and my client [for weeks] because the press found out about the mtg and they can’t handle a few cameras outside their offices,” Avenatti tweeted Sunday night.
“If they consider this a big deal, how will they ever bring any serious criminal charges against Cohen et al., let alone handle a trial, in such a high profile matter? We have bent over backwards to accommodate them. This is unheard of. We remain willing to cooperate but something isn’t right,” he continued.
ever bring any serious criminal charges against Cohen et al., let alone handle a trial, in such a high profile matter? We have bent over backwards to accommodate them. This is unheard of. We remain willing to cooperate but something isn’t right…
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) June 25, 2018
As part of their investigation into Cohen, prosecutors have been examining the $130,000 payment that was made to Daniels as part of a confidentiality agreement days before the 2016 presidential election.
“We believe canceling the meeting because the press has now caught wind of it is ridiculous,” Avenatti wrote in an email to Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos. “We do not think it was any secret that at some point you were going to meet with my client.”
Daniels’ interview had been in preparation for a possible grand jury appearance in the federal investigation into Cohen’s business dealings, the person familiar with the matter said. If prosecutors bring a case to a grand jury, they could call witnesses to testify under oath and the grand jury would decide whether to bring criminal charges with a written indictment.
In April, FBI agents raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room as part of a probe into his business dealings. He has not yet been charged with any crime.
Cohen had said he paid Daniels himself, through a limited liability company known as Essential Consultants, LLC, and that “neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”
The president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani explained that the payment was made to “resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the President’s family. It would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not.”
Earlier this month, Trump said he hadn’t spoken with Cohen in “a long time” and that Cohen is “not my lawyer anymore.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this article.