Saturday 20 October 2018

Donald Trump brands sketch in Stormy Daniels row ‘a total con job’

The US president was reacting after the porn actress made allegations about being threatened by a mystery man who told her to keep silent.

Stormy Daniels leaves ABC Television Studios (Mary Altaffer/AP)
Stormy Daniels leaves ABC Television Studios (Mary Altaffer/AP)

By Catherine Lucey

President Donald Trump has said Stormy Daniels pulled “a total con job” by promoting an artist’s sketch of a man she says threatened her to keep silent about an alleged sexual encounter with Mr Trump years ago.

The sketch depicts a white male in his 30s or 40s and carries a description of him as “lean but fit”.

Ms Daniels, a porn actress whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, told ABC’s The View on Tuesday that it was the man who menaced her and her young daughter and warned her in 2011 to stay quiet about an alleged 2006 tryst with Mr Trump.

In an early morning tweet from his Palm Beach estate, Mr Trump said: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”

Ms Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti hit back on Twitter, noting a recent FBI raid on Mr Trump’s lawyer’s office, saying it uncovered “Existing documents and recordings showing con job after con job pulled on real people and very real American citizens (who didn’t know it)”.

He added that Mr Trump was a “completely unhinged, undisciplined opponent who is prone to shooting himself in the foot”.

Mr Avenatti has increased a 100,000 US dollar reward to 131,000 dollars for information leading to the man’s identification.

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The sketch that reports to show the man that the adult film actress Stormy Daniels says threatened her (Michael Avenatti via AP)

The figure could be a reference to the 130,000 dollars that Ms Daniels says she received from Mr Trump’s lawyer attorney, Michael Cohen, just before the 2016 election for her silence.

Ms Daniels is seeking to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement.

The case took on new significance last week when FBI agents raided Mr Cohen’s office, looking for information on topics including the payment to Ms Daniels.

Mr Trump answered questions about Ms Daniels for the first time recently, saying he had no knowledge of the payment made by Mr Cohen and did not know where Cohen had got the money.

The White House has consistently said Mr Trump denies the affair.

After Ms Daniels first alleged on CBS’ 60 Minutes several weeks ago that she had been threatened, a lawyer for Mr Cohen demanded that she publicly apologise to his client for suggesting Mr Cohen was involved.

Ms Daniels responded by filing a revised US federal lawsuit accusing Mr Cohen of defamation.

Press Association

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