Stormy 'threatened' over Trump affair claim
Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who says she had an affair with Donald Trump, has claimed she and her daughter were threatened when she first tried to go public with the story of their alleged affair, it has emerged.
In a much-anticipated interview Daniels said she had sex with Donald Trump in 2006, recanting a statement denying the affair that Mr Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, issued under her name in January.
She said she and her young daughter were physically threatened by an unidentified man in Las Vegas in 2011 if she revealed the affair.
Earlier that year, Mr Cohen threatened to sue 'In Touch' magazine if it published an interview with Daniels in which she detailed the relationship, according to CBS's '60 Minutes'.
"I was concerned for my family and their safety," she said.
In her first television interview discussing the alleged affair, Daniels said she signed a non-disclosure agreement drawn up by Mr Cohen in 2016 in part because she was afraid of potential physical harm.
"A guy walked up on me and said to me, 'Leave Trump alone. Forget the story'," she said.
"And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, 'That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom.' And then he was gone."
Daniels - whose real name is Stephanie Clifford - declined to answer questions about whether she had any text messages or videos documenting the relationship after her attorney, Michael Avenatti, had hinted at the existence of such evidence in a provocative Twitter post before the CBS programme on Sunday night.
His tweet read: "Note: (a) not all of our evidence will be mentioned/displayed tonight - that would be foolish; (b) we are not sure what CBS will include but we know a lot from the full interview will have to be cut bc [because] of the time allowed; (c) tonight is not the end - it's the beginning."
Ahead of the interview's broadcast, Daniels said her years in the porn industry would help her cope with the scrutiny she expects to face in the wake of speaking out.
"Being in the adult industry, I've developed a thick skin," she told 'The Washington Post' at the weekend.
"But nothing could truly prepare someone for this."
It emerged earlier this year that Daniels was paid $130,000 (€104,500) by Mr Cohen, Mr Trump's personal lawyer, as part of a non-disclosure agreement that she signed before the 2016 US election, leading to allegations that the payment may have violated United States campaign finance laws.
She has previously spoken about the alleged affair, including tweeting recently: "Technically I didn't sleep with the Potus 12 years ago. There was no sleeping (hehe) and he was just a goofy reality TV star."
However, Mr Trump's opponents will pick over her words to see how much more they can learn about the episode.
The anticipation was heightened further by the fact that CBS abandoned its usual practice of releasing excerpts of the interview in advance.
Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of the Newsmax website and a close confidant of Mr Trump, played down its significance.
"This is politically motivated to hurt or embarrass [President Trump] in some way. I think the American people are really dismissing this as political witch hunts," he told ABC News.
The White House has denied any sexual encounter took place.
But Mr Avenatti told '60 Minutes' he has documents showing Mr Cohen using his Trump Organisation email address in setting up the payment and that the non-disclosure agreement was sent by FedEx to Mr Cohen at his office in Trump Tower.