Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, given name Stephanie Clifford, is suing Donald J. Trump for failing to sign a nondisclosure agreement designed to keep Clifford from talking about Trump and their intimate relationship.
Clifford filed the civil suit on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. She signed the documents on Oct. 28, 2016. She is stating the agreement is invalid because it was not signed by Trump. According to the suit, Trump did not sign the contract on purpose, so he could later. He could also publicly deny any knowledge of the hush agreement and the relationship.
Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, posted a copy of the lawsuit to Twitter Tuesday. It only asks the court to declare the documents invalid or void.
The former adult film star claims that her intimate relationship with Trump began before his political aspirations took shape and over a year into his marriage to Melania. It began the summer of 2006 in Lake Tahoe and it lasted “well into 2007.”
Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, drafted the hush agreement, but has repeatedly denied the relationship along with the White House. The lawsuit states that Cohen used “intimidation and coercive tactics” to force Clifford to sign a false statement denying the relationship with the president.
In January 2018, Clifford issued a statement that 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.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen made arrangements to pay Clifford $130,000 a few days before the 2016 presidential election. The money was to keep her from telling her story. The payment came from Essential Consultants LLC, a company Clifford claims Cohen created “for the express purpose of hiding the true source of funds.”
Cohen claims he paid her out of his own pocket and was not reimbursed by the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign. However, Cohen has not said why he paid the former adult actress the generous sum.
According to a complaint filed by Common Cause with the Federal Election Commission, the payment was an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign. Cohen denies these allegations and his attorney filed a response to the F.E.C.
The contract uses the names David Dennison and Peggy Peterson to identify Trump and Clifford respectively. In the agreement, Clifford would have to pay Trump $1 million for each breach. Clifford and Cohen signed the agreement on Oct. 28, 2016, but a blank space remains over Dennison’s name.
If the absence of a signature is not enough to void the contract, Clifford claims Cohen has broken the agreement by talking with the media. The lawsuit specifically references his Feb. 13 statement to The New York Times as evidence there is “no binding agreement in place.”
Clifford also claims that Cohen has continued his efforts to keep her quiet as recently as Fen. 27, 2018.
By Jeanette Smith
NPR: Stormy Daniels Files Suit, Claims NDA Invalid Because Trump Didn’t Sign At The XXX
NBC News: Stormy Daniels sues Trump, says ‘hush agreement’ invalid because he never signed
Image Courtesy of Gunnar Wrobel’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License