UPDATE: Adult film star Stormy Daniels has sent a letter to President Donald Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, offering to return the $130,000 she was paid to stay quiet about her affair with the president.
The Daily Beast has reported that the actress wants to cancel the 2016 agreement she allegedly signed to keep from talking to the press about Trump.
NEW: Lawyer for Stormy Daniels sends letter to Trump attorney Michael Cohen offering to return $130,000 to void non-disclosure agreement. pic.twitter.com/gBeLvNA8hg— ABC News (@ABC) March 12, 2018
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told Cohen in the letter written on behalf of his client that Daniels is ready to “wire the money into an account of Mr. Trump’s choosing by Friday.”
The deal would only be fulfilled, however, if the 2016 agreement was nullified.
If the terms are accepted, then Daniels would be allowed to “speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the president and the attempts to silence her” as well as “use or publish any text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the president that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and legal liability for damages.”
Prior to sending the letter, Daniels agreed to talk to Anderson Cooper for a 60 Minutes interview last week. If this deal were to be accepted, then Daniels would also be allowed to let CNN air the interview without fear of legal retaliation.
The Trump camp has until Tuesday at noon to respond to the offer, forcing Cohen to either let the actress talk about the relationship with the president openly or to unwillingly admit that the silencing campaign isn’t a fabrication.
Clearly, Daniels has the upper hand, whether Trump’s legal team accepts her offer or not.
Stormy Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, has confirmed that the adult film star and President Donald Trump had a sexual relationship.
The revelation took place during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show. He was talking about his client’s decision to disclose the details about the couple’s relationship.
As host Savannah Guthrie asked Avenatti if Daniels had a sexual relationship with the president in 2006, the attorney said “yes.” If Daniels’ story is proven true, this means that the president had an extramarital affair with Daniels the same year his youngest son, Barron, was born.
During the interview, Avenatti also added that Daniels is free to discuss the relationship because the nondisclosure agreement put together by Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, hadn’t been signed by the president.
“She’s looking to disclose the truth about what happened,” Daniels’ lawyer said. "At this point, 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."
According to Avenatti, the president may have refused to sign the agreement “so that he could later claim deniability, and therefore, from a legal perspective, we believe she’s free to talk."
Instead of having the president carry the deal with the adult star himself and give her the $130,000, it appears that he allegedly had Cohen hand her the money and have her sign the document.
"We think it’s highly questionable as to whether it came from his personal funds,” Avenatti explained. "The idea that an attorney would go off on his own, without his client's knowledge, engage in this type of negotiation, and enter in this type of agreement quite honestly I think is ludicrous."
After reports regarding Daniels’ alleged affair with the president went public, watchdog groups raised questions regarding the payment, as it was carried out during Trump’s presidential campaign. However, Cohen said that the payout funds had come entirely from his personal account. He even allegedly complained to close friends that the president had yet to reimburse him.
Whether the payment came from the lawyer or not, it’s clear that this story will continue to put the president and people in his close circle on edge.
President Donald Trump is facing yet another lawsuit – this time by an adult film star who had so far been relatively mum about her alleged affair with the commander-in-chief.
Stormy Daniels, whose real name in Stephanie Clifford, reportedly met the real estate mogul in 2006 at one of his golf courses and later engaged in a sexual relationship. It is important to mention Trump was not only married to his third wife and first lady Melania Trump at the time, but she was also pregnant with their son, Barron.
Earlier this year, after reports surfaced that president’s long-time personal attorney Michael Cohen set up a shell company to allegedly pay Daniels $130,000 in hush money shortly before the 2016 presidential election, the lawyer refuted the claims. He even produced a letter supposedly signed by the actress denying any such transaction. Initially, Daniels also denied the tryst ever happened, but apparently gave an interview in 2011 confirming the two had slept together.
Meanwhile, Trump never publicly addressed the allegations, which was very unlike him given his well-documented penchant for attacking his critics on social media.
However, things took a turn after Daniels appeared on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and pretty much confirmed presence of a non-disclosure agreement without spilling any beans.
Caught in the middle of a raging controversy, Cohen proceeded to dig himself a deeper hole by claiming he paid Daniels out of his own pocket during the campaign and asserted it had nothing to do with Trump’s alleged relationship with her – raising questions if the admission could lead to criminal charges for conspiracy and campaign fraud against Trump.
At the same time, the attorney’s confession also paved way for Daniels to speak out about the terms of the alleged agreement and what led to the payoff without fear of legal retaliation, as Cohen had breached their contract by publicly talking about it in.
It now appears the adult film actress is trying to get the “hush agreement” invalidated by claiming the president never signed it. She claimed he didn’t sign it so he could “publicly disavow” he knew anything about their “intimate relationship” if the time came.
As her lawyer said in a statement, Trump “did not sign the agreement, thus rendering it legally null and void and of no consequence.”
According to the lawsuit filed in a court in Los Angeles, the actress began a relationship with Trump in the summer of 2006, which continued well into 2007.
“This relationship included, among other things, at least one ‘meeting’ with Mr. Trump in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel," the complaint stated.
The “Side Letter Agreement” attached to the lawsuit shows both Trump and Daniels used special pseudonyms –David Dennison and Peggy Peterson, respectively – to make the agreement even more ambiguous.
As several people have since pointed out, the lawsuit is going to be a bit of a conundrum for Trump and his legal team.
This lawsuit is a work of legal art. If you are Trump, do you:— Susan Simpson (@TheViewFromLL2) March 7, 2018
A) argue that your agreement to pay hush $$ to the porn star was a valid & legally enforceable contract; or
B) argue that there is no contract, and the porn star is free to talk about your affair?
The commander-in-chief, who is facing over a dozen accusations of sexual misconduct, can either argue the agreement is a legal contract or just outright deny any such contract exists. In the event of the latter, Daniels would be free to talk about whatever she likes with whomever she wants.
BREAKING: Stormy’s suit is more evidence for our @CREWcrew complaint that Trump broke the law by failing to disclose info re the agreement on his SF-278 federal disclosures. For God’s sake, there was a signature line for him in the docs under a fake name! https://t.co/hZAOfk21rG https://t.co/wiAlVtgXqz— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) March 7, 2018
That’s not it.
Here are a couple other things the lawsuit exposed about the alleged relationship between Trump and the adult film star.
1. Daniels told at least four other people about the alleged affair – including her manager Gina Rodriguez.
Best part of Stormy Daniels lawsuit is this list of folks she spoke to before signing the agreement. pic.twitter.com/3Z30D4cwuT— E Randol Schoenberg (@RandySchoenberg) March 7, 2018
2. The agreement required Daniels to turn over “certain still images and/or text messages” related to the alleged affair, which means she most probably had photos and other evidence of their time together.
The nondisclosure agreement between Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump includes mention of "certain still images and/or text messages." pic.twitter.com/SiUuSqtL7w— Matt Ortega (@MattOrtega) March 7, 2018
Tfw you realize Trump prolly sent Stormy a dick pic pic.twitter.com/95CqkTLA1l— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 7, 2018
3. The actress alleged Cohen tried to silence her “through the use of an improper and procedurally defective arbitration proceeding.”
Um, folks, @MichaelCohen212 better get himself a good lawyer. If the allegations here by @StormyDaniels are correct then Cohen forced her to sign a statement that Cohen knew was false.— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) March 7, 2018
Lawyers can’t do that. https://t.co/1LcZVRA31g
4. In an event of Daniels violating the agreement, she would be liable to pay Trump $1 billion for each breach.
Oh hell ya. There’s an Austin Powers provision buried in the Story Hush Agreement. If Stormy breaches the agreement she not only has to give up the money she made but pay trump ONE MILLION DOLLARS for each individual breach. pic.twitter.com/Hc9rbBJxaG— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 7, 2018
5. The agreement states Daniels claimed she was “damaged” by the president, including “proximately causing injury to her person and other related claims.”
Although the actress previously said the affair was consensual, this part of the lawsuit appears to be rather important (and disturbing) in nature.
Paragraph 2.2 of “Hush Agreement” contains a possibly explosive allegation: “Peggy Peterson” (Stormy Daniels) claimed “David Dennison” (Donald Trump) caused “injury to her person and other related claims.” That could be alluding many things, none of them good or presidential. pic.twitter.com/cr8sMbXWYz— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) March 7, 2018
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Eduardo Munoz