Tuesday 25 June 2019

Stormy Daniels files defamation lawsuit against Trump

Stormy Daniels claims she had an affair with Donald Trump (Arely D Castillo/AP)
Stormy Daniels claims she had an affair with Donald Trump (Arely D Castillo/AP)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The porn actress who claims she had an affair with Donald Trump is escalating her legal fight, suing the president for defamation.

Stormy Daniels filed the complaint in federal court in New York on Monday.

At issue is a tweet in which Mr Trump dismissed a composite sketch that Daniels says depicts a man who threatened her in 2011 to stay quiet about her alleged sexual encounter with Mr Trump.

In the tweet earlier this month, the president said: "A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!"

The court filing says the tweet was "false and defamatory". Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.

The filing says Mr Trump "knew that his false, disparaging statement would be read by people around the world, as well as widely reported".

It also says Daniels has been "exposed to death threats and other threats of physical violence".

Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti said: "We intend on teaching Mr Trump that you cannot simply make things up about someone and disseminate them without serious consequences."

The lawsuit is the latest legal move from Daniels, who is already suing to be released from a non-disclosure deal she agreed to days before the 2016 election in exchange for 130,000 dollars (£95,000).

The payment was made by the president's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. That civil lawsuit was delayed in federal court in Los Angeles on Friday, with the judge citing a criminal investigation Mr Cohen is facing.

Mr Cohen asked for a delay after FBI agents raided his home and office several weeks ago, seeking records about the nondisclosure agreement.

Mr Cohen's lawyer said in court last week that because the criminal investigation overlaps with issues in the lawsuit, his client's right against self-incrimination could be adversely impacted because he would not be able to respond and defend himself.

Daniels has sought to keep her case in the public eye. Several weeks ago, she revealed a sketch on ABC's The View that she said depicted the man who warned her in 2011 to stay quiet about a 2006 tryst with Mr Trump.

The president faces a number of allegations about his sexual exploits long before he ran for office.

The White House says he did not have a sexual encounter with Daniels, and the president has denied the other allegations as well.

Mr Trump is also facing a New York defamation lawsuit filed by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, who has accused him of unwanted sexual contact in 2007 and sued him after he dismissed the claims as made up. A judge ruled that lawsuit can move forward.


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