Stormy Daniels sues Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen for defamation after CBS interview | News | DW | 27.03.2018
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Stormy Daniels sues Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen for defamation after CBS interview

The White House has denied claims by Stormy Daniels that she was threatened to keep quiet about an alleged affair with President Donald Trump. The adult film star has added claims of defamation to her lawsuit.

Porn star Stormy Daniels has filed a revised federal lawsuit against Michael Cohen, the personal attorney of US President Donald Trump, accusing him of defamation. The White House, meanwhile, has continued to deny any relationship between Trump and Daniels.

The 39-year-old adult actress — real name Stephanie Clifford — has dominated US headlines after a blockbuster interview with CBS on Sunday in which she claimed she was physically intimidated by a Trump representative to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter between the pair.

Read more: Ex-porn star Stormy Daniels sues Trump over hush agreement

The story so far:

  • Daniels claims she had consensual sex with Trump once in 2006, shortly after his wife, Melania, gave birth.
  • She claims she was physically threatened in 2011 after she tried to sell the story, when a man approached her in a parking lot in Las Vegas and said, "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story." She said he then looked at her infant daughter and said, "It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom."
  • She says she was paid $130,000 (€109,000) shortly before the 2016 election to keep silent.
  • On March 6, she sued to nullify the non-disclosure agreement, saying Trump never signed it.
  • Her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has intimated that he has CD or DVD evidence of the encounter.

Read more: Trump lawyer 'paid $130,000' to porn actress

Latest developments:

  • After the CBS interview, the White House and Cohen again denied the affair and any link between Trump and the threat of violence.
  • Cohen called for a public apology from Daniels.
  • In response, Daniels updated her federal lawsuit to include claims of defamation against Cohen.
  • The updated lawsuit also claims the payment violated election law and should be nullified.

Read more: Trump bemoans how 'mere' sexual abuse allegations lead to resignations

Watch video 00:37

'Hold Trump to the same standard as Weinstein and other men'

How people reacted

White House Spokesman Raj Shah said: "The president strongly, clearly and has consistently denied these underlying claims, and the only person who's been inconsistent is the one making the claims."

Avenatti, speaking on the defamation claim, said Cohen "meant to convey that Ms. Clifford is a liar, someone who should not be trusted, and that her claims about her relationship with Mr. Trump" were not true.

Cohen, speaking on the threat allegation, wrote in a letter that he: "had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any such person or incident, and does not even believe that any such person exists, or that such incident ever occurred."

Trump has remained unusually quiet, only tweeting on Monday that "fake news" has "never been more voluminous or more inaccurate."

Read more: Trump rejects congressional sexual harassment probe

Why the payment issue is problematic

The payment to Daniels could amount to an illegal campaign contribution. Watchdog groups have filed claims with the US Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission, alleging the $130,000 exceeded campaign contribution limits. It may also have violated federal law, as it was not listed in Trump's financial disclosure forms.

How the allegations could affect Trump

The alleged affair could potentially undermine his wide support among evangelical voters. The months-long drama could also be fueling unrest in the White House. Former President Bill Clinton was impeached by Congress after lying about his relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky in a sexual harassment case that was eventually thrown out.

What will happen to Trump

The complaints against Trump may lead to more serious allegations that could force his lawyer, Cohen, and potentially Trump himself to testify under oath. If investigators find that the payments were intended to be kept secret, they could lead to charges.

Details of the other affair allegation

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal told CNN last week she had a 10-month affair with Trump starting in 2006, a year after his marriage to Melania and the year their son was born. McDougal is seeking to invalidate a confidentiality agreement with the publisher of supermarket tabloid National Enquirer. Her suit alleges that Cohen was secretly involved in a $150,000 payment during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sidebar: Next month, Daniels is bringing her "Making America Horny Again" strip show to a venue near Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

aw/cmk (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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