USA judge rejects trial demand in Stormy Daniels case

Michael Avenatti attorney and spokesperson for adult film star Stormy Daniels listens to a reporters' question during an interview at The Associated Press in New York. Daniels media-savvy

US District judge James Otero on Thursday denied the motion, stating that it was "procedurally premature", reportedly suggesting that her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, could refile the motion on a later date. "If such a petition were filed, a number of the questions raised in Plaintiff's Motion may be answered in the petition, thus limited the need for discovery on these issues". Daniels said she had unprotected sex with Trump in 2006 and was later threatened for telling her story.

Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, had been seeking to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 presidential election and offered to return the $130,000 she was paid to "set the record straight".

"Here is an order from the Ct denying our motion as premature on procedural grounds".

Avenatti tweeted that he expects Cohen to file that request "any day".

Cohen and lawyers working for him did not immediately respond to requests for comment. "Once the court has determined that the contract is invalid, it can move on to deciding whether any other claims, such as those relating to alleged intimidation, are sufficiently substantial to allow the case to go forward".

Despite the immediate denial, Avenatti said Otero's Thursday ruling strongly insinuates that he will be granted a jury trial preceded by legal discovery, the pre-courtroom procedure in which each party can obtain evidence from the other side.

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Otero, who was nominated to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2003, also included an admonition for those involved in the high-profile case.

But he has not publicly commented about it in the days since Daniels described in detail her encounter with the future US leader last Sunday on CBS's nationally televised 60 Minutes show, a spectacle that drew 22 million viewers.

She claims that because Trump never signed the agreement that it is legally void.

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor from Chicago, said that if Trump was indeed unaware of a hush agreement with Daniels, the agreement was probably not valid.

"... Finally, if Mr. Trump was aware of the Hush Agreement, given that he never signed it, plaintiff must be permitted to explore through document demands and deposition testimony how he claims he communicated his acceptance and assent of the agreement, including his assent to the terms requiring him to provide plaintiff with a release of claims and a covenant not to sue".

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