'Staggering' Development as Trump Personal Lawyer Michael Cohen to Invoke Fifth Amendment

Longtime Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen pictured in New York earlier this month. (Photo: WSJ)

'Staggering' Development as Trump Personal Lawyer Michael Cohen to Invoke Fifth Amendment

"It cannot be over exaggerated. It cannot be overstated. This is a big deal."

In a development described as "staggering" in the ongoing saga involving President Donald Trump and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels--and the efforts made to keep her silent about the sexual affair she claims they had--Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen on Wednesday told a federal court judge that he will plead the Fifth Amendment in order to avoid self-incrimination if he is forced to testify in the case.

As the Washington Postreports:

Cohen's declaration, in support of his request to pause proceedings in the civil case, cited an "ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York." Earlier this month, the FBI raided Cohen's home, office and a hotel room where he had been staying.

That investigation includes looking into the effort to quash embarrassing stories about Trump during the 2016 campaign, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Appearing on MSNBC's "The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell" late Wednesday night, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing Daniel's (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford), said in response that Cohen invoking his Fifth Amendment rights was a "very big deal" and a "staggering development."

Of course, "taking the Fifth" is a constitutionally protected right and invoking it does not, in the eyes of the law, indicate guilt. However, not just a few people were pointing out Trump's repeated public statements on what doing so suggests:

However, at least to Avenatti and many others, the development is one that cannot be ignored.

"Never before in our nation's history has the attorney for the sitting President invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the President," Avenatti said in an earlier tweet. "It is esp. stunning seeing as MC served as the 'fixer' for Mr. Trump for over 10 yrs."

Watch Avenatti's complete interview with O'Donnell:

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