Politics

Porn Star Stormy Daniels Files Lawsuit Against President Trump

Stormy Daniels
By Toglenn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Porn star Stormy Daniels, filed suit against President Donald Trump Tuesday, alleging the President failed to sign their “hush agreement” rendering the contract null and void. The 38 year old porn star claims the non-disclosure agreement she allegedly entered into before the 2016 election was deliberately left unsigned by Trump. President Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, is said to have paid Daniels $130,000 to keep silent in the days before the Presidential election.

Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, posted a link to the suit on Twitter on Wednesday. Through the lawsuit, Daniels is not seeking damages, but petitioning the court to declare the NDA null and void.

The Lawsuit

Daniels, or Stephanie Clifford outside of the porn industry, filed suit in the Los Angeles Superior Court. She claims she was stopped from going public with her affair with Trump by a non-disclosure agreement or “hush agreement,” signed just before the election. The lawsuit reads, “Mr. Trump, with the assistance of his attorney, Mr. Cohen, aggressively sought to silence Ms. Clifford as part of an effort to avoid her telling the truth, thus helping to ensure he won the presidential election.”

The complain explains, after the infamous “Access Hollywood Tapes,” were published, Daniels wanted to come forward to “various media outlets” about her affair with then presidential-nominee Donald Trump. Once word got back to the Trump campaign that she was speaking to the media, Daniels was silence by Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney. The lawsuit refers to Cohen as Trump’s “fixer.”

The suit takes the position that the non-disclosure agreement is null and void because it was never signed by President Trump. According to the complaint, this was not a slip-up on the part of Trump’s lawyers, rather he “purposely did not sign the agreement so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow any knowledge of the ‘Hush Agreement.’” Further distancing Trump from the NDA, both parties are referred to by aliases. Trump is David Dennison and Stormy Daniels is given the name Peggy Peterson.

Despite Trump never signing the hush agreement, Daniels insists Cohen transferred $130,000 to her lawyer. Daniels claims the transfer came from Essential Consultants LLC. According to Daniels’ complaint, this company was a front created by Cohen “for the express purpose of hiding the true source of funds.”

Cohen did, however, sign the agreement, on behalf of Essential Consultants LLC. Despite signing, Cohen issued a statement on February 13, 2018, in reference to the agreement, admitting that he paid the porn star $130,000, but claiming it was his own money and the Trump organization and campaign were not a party to the transaction. According to Daniels’ suit, Cohen speaking about the agreement publicly without her consent, further demonstrates the agreement was not binding.

You can read the full complaint here.

The Affair, Allegedly

According to the suit, the Stormy Daniels/Donald Trump affair began in the summer of 2006 and continued in 2007. The affair allegedly began in Lake Tahoe, a year after Trump’s marriage to Slovenian-born former supermodel Melania and just a few months after the birth of their son, Barron.

The lawsuit also claims Daniels and Trump had “at least one meeting” in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

After the story about the affair between the President & the porn star and the subsequent hush agreement broke, Daniels alleges that Cohen used “intimidation and coercive tactics” to get her to sign a statement in January saying that the reports of her affair were false.

The statement read, “I am not denying this affair because I was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids. I am denying it because it never happened.”

Wednesday, Avenatti, Daniels’ lawyer, went on the Today show to discuss the affair. He said in no uncertain terms that his client did have an affair with Donald Trump more than a decade ago.

So What? Legally Speaking

The lawsuit claims Cohen paid out the money in hopes of protecting President Trump’s chances of becoming president. It also claims Trump was aware of the payment. If true, these allegations could indicate violations of campaign finance laws.

At the end of January, Common Cause, a government watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming the payout to Daniels qualifies as an “unreported in-kind contribution,” to the Trump campaign. As such, the $130,000 payment violates the Federal Election Campaign Act. If Cohen is telling the truth that the money came from his own pocket, there is a $2,700 limit on individual donations to candidates. If the money is traced back to the Trump Organization, where many suspect it originated, this is also an FEC violation, as corporations are entirely prohibited from donating to presidential campaigns.

Cohen responded by saying the allegations are “factually unsupported and without legal merit, and my counsel has submitted a response to the F.E.C.” Although he has admitted to paying Daniels, he has not explained what the payment was for.

Avenatti rejects Cohen’s claims that Trump did not know about the payment, telling the Today show, “There’s no question the president knew about it at the time. The idea that an attorney would go off on his own, without his client’s knowledge, and engage in this type of negotiation and enter into this type of agreement, quite honestly, I think is ludicrous.”

Daniels does not ask for damages in the suit, which has raised a few eyebrows. If the court declares the NDA null and void, this would open the porn star up for media appearances and allow her to speak openly about the affair, which could be quite financially lucrative. Otherwise, according to the hush agreement, the penalty for speaking about the affair is $1 million per violation.

Avenatti seemed to confirm Daniels’ media aspirations, saying on the Today show, “In light of the amount of misinformation that Mr. Cohen has put out there to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and others, I think it’s time for her to tell her story and for the public to decide who’s telling the truth.”

Porn star Stormy Daniels, filed suit against President Donald Trump Tuesday, alleging the President failed to sign their “hush agreement” rendering the contract noil and void. The 38 year old porn star claims the non-disclosure agreement she allegedly entered into before the 2016 election was deliberately left unsigned by Trump. President Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, is said to have paid Daniels $130,000 to keep silent in the days before the Presidential election.

Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, posted a link to the suit on Twitter on Wednesday. Through the lawsuit, Daniels is not seeking damages, but petitioning the court to declare the NDA null and void.

The Lawsuit

Daniels, or Stephanie Clifford outside of the porn industry, filed suit in the Los Angeles Superior Court. She claims she was stopped from going public with her affair with Trump by a non-disclosure agreement or “hush agreement,” signed just before the election. The lawsuit reads, “Mr. Trump, with the assistance of his attorney, Mr. Cohen, aggressively sought to silence Ms. Clifford as part of an effort to avoid her telling the truth, thus helping to ensure he won the presidential election.”

The complain explains, after the infamous “Access Hollywood Tapes,” were published, Daniels wanted to come forward to “various media outlets” about her affair with then presidential-nominee Donald Trump. Once word got back to the Trump campaign that she was speaking to the media, Daniels was silence by Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney. The lawsuit refers to Cohen as Trump’s “fixer.”

The suit takes the position that the non-disclosure agreement is null and void because it was never signed by President Trump. According to the complaint, this was not a slip-up on the part of Trump’s lawyers, rather he “purposely did not sign the agreement so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow any knowledge of the ‘Hush Agreement.’” Further distancing Trump from the NDA, both parties are referred to by aliases. Trump is David Dennison and Stormy Daniels is given the name Peggy Peterson.

Despite Trump never signing the hush agreement, Daniels insists Cohen transferred $130,000 to her lawyer. Daniels claims the transfer came from Essential Consultants LLC. According to Daniels’ complaint, this company was a front created by Cohen “for the express purpose of hiding the true source of funds.”

Cohen did, however, sign the agreement, on behalf of Essential Consultants LLC. Despite signing, Cohen issued a statement on February 13, 2018, in reference to the agreement, admitting that he paid the porn star $130,000, but claiming it was his own money and the Trump organization and campaign were not a party to the transaction. According to Daniels’ suit, Cohen speaking about the agreement publicly without her consent, further demonstrates the agreement was not binding.

You can read the full complaint here.

The Affair, Allegedly

According to the suit, the Stormy Daniels/Donald Trump affair began in the summer of 2006 and continued in 2007. The affair allegedly began in Lake Tahoe, a year after Trump’s marriage to Slovenian-born former supermodel Melania and just a few months after the birth of their son, Barron.

The lawsuit also claims Daniels and Trump had “at least one meeting” in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

After the story about the affair between the President & the porn star and the subsequent hush agreement broke, Daniels alleges that Cohen used “intimidation and coercive tactics” to get her to sign a statement in January saying that the reports of her affair were false.

The statement read, “I am not denying this affair because I was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids. I am denying it because it never happened.”

Wednesday, Avenatti, Daniels’ lawyer, went on the Today show to discuss the affair. He said in no uncertain terms that his client did have an affair with Donald Trump more than a decade ago.

So What? Legally Speaking

The lawsuit claims Cohen paid out the money in hopes of protecting President Trump’s chances of becoming president. It also claims Trump was aware of the payment. If true, these allegations could indicate violations of campaign finance laws.

At the end of January, Common Cause, a government watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming the payout to Daniels qualifies as an “unreported in-kind contribution,” to the Trump campaign. As such, the $130,000 payment violates the Federal Election Campaign Act. If Cohen is telling the truth that the money came from his own pocket, there is a $2,700 limit on individual donations to candidates. If the money is traced back to the Trump Organization, where many suspect it originated, this is also an FEC violation, as corporations are entirely prohibited from donating to presidential campaigns.

Cohen responded by saying the allegations are “factually unsupported and without legal merit, and my counsel has submitted a response to the F.E.C.” Although he has admitted to paying Daniels, he has not explained what the payment was for.

Avenatti rejects Cohen’s claims that Trump did not know about the payment, telling the Today show, “There’s no question the president knew about it at the time. The idea that an attorney would go off on his own, without his client’s knowledge, and engage in this type of negotiation and enter into this type of agreement, quite honestly, I think is ludicrous.”

Daniels does not ask for damages in the suit, which has raised a few eyebrows. If the court declares the NDA null and void, this would open the porn star up for media appearances and allow her to speak openly about the affair, which could be quite financially lucrative. Otherwise, according to the hush agreement, the penalty for speaking about the affair is $1 million per violation.

Avenatti seemed to confirm Daniels’ media aspirations, saying on the Today show, “In light of the amount of misinformation that Mr. Cohen has put out there to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and others, I think it’s time for her to tell her story and for the public to decide who’s telling the truth.”