- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 8, 2018

Michael Avenatti, the attorney suing President Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen on behalf of adult film actress Stormy Daniels, pushed Saturday for federal prosecutors to break precedent by filing criminal charges against the president over related campaign finance law violations.

“.realDonaldTrump should be indicted for committing the two felonies designed to get him elected. Now. No court has ever ruled that the POTUS cannot be indicted and there is nothing in the constitution that states as much,” Mr. Avenatti wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Avenatti’s suggestion came on the heels of prosecutors in the Southern District of New York filing court documents Friday in the government’s case against Mr. Cohen, 52, implicating Mr. Trump in his former lawyer’s admitted campaign finance law violations.

Filed in anticipation of an upcoming sentencing hearing, prosecutors said Mr. Cohen deserved a “substantial” prison term in connection with crimes that included paying two women during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep quiet about their alleged sexual relationships with Mr. Trump, identified in the documents as “Individual-1.”

Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs,” prosecutors wrote Friday.

“With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election,” prosecutors added. “In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.”

Mr. Avenatti, 47, sued Mr. Trump and his former lawyer over a similar agreement reached during the 2016 race between Mr. Cohen and Daniels, 39, legally known as Stephanie Clifford. A vocal critic of the president, he was previously rumored to be considering running against Mr. Trump in the 2020 election prior to officially ruling out a bid earlier this month.

The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded in 2000 that “the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.”

Critics of that opinion have weighed whether prosecutors or bound to obey, however, particularly given the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into the 2016 race ensnarling several people in the president’s immediate orbit.

“It is time for the SCOTUS to decide the issue,” Mr. Avenatti tweeted Saturday.

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