A federal judge in California on Friday ordered a three-month delay in the lawsuit brought by the pornographic film star Stephanie Clifford against President Trump, citing what he called the likelihood that Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, will be indicted.
In granting a defense request for the postponement, the judge, S. James Otero of United States District Court in Los Angeles, sided with the president’s legal team that the unusual circumstances of the case warranted the stay of action. Judge Otero acknowledged in his order that complications might arise from an overlap with a criminal investigation into Mr. Cohen.
“This is no simple criminal investigation,” Judge Otero wrote. “It is an investigation into the personal attorney of a sitting president regarding documents that might be subject to the attorney-client privilege. Whether or not an indictment is forthcoming, and the court thinks it likely based on these facts alone, these unique circumstances counsel in favor of stay.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Cohen, whose New York office, apartment and hotel room were raided this month by the F.B.I., invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in Ms. Clifford’s lawsuit, citing the “ongoing criminal investigation” in New York.
Ms. Clifford, who is better known as Stormy Daniels, was paid $130,000 by Mr. Cohen to keep quiet about claims that she had an affair with Mr. Trump after meeting him in 2006. She sued last month to get out of the nondisclosure agreement she signed in October 2016, claiming it is void because Mr. Trump had never signed it.
“The court finds that there is a large potential factual overlap between the civil and criminal proceedings that would heavily implicate Mr. Cohen’s Fifth Amendment rights,” he wrote.
Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said on Twitter that his team would “likely be filing an immediate appeal to the Ninth Circuit early next week.” He has resisted any delay in the case, which the president’s lawyers requested two weeks ago.
“We want to get the claims in this case adjudicated as quickly as possible, and we want to get the truth to the American people as quickly as possible,” Mr. Avenatti said in an interview on Friday.
Stephen M. Ryan, a lawyer for Mr. Cohen, could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday night.
Judge Otero set a hearing in the civil case for July 27.
Mr. Trump has recently made an effort to distance himself from Mr. Cohenand, in particular, his business dealings, which are believed to be the focus of the federal investigation. Still, the president said on Thursday that Mr. Cohen did represent him in “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work.
“He represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me,” Mr. Trump said in a freewheeling dial-in interview with the cable television show “Fox & Friends.”