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Stormy Daniels' lawyer: She was 'threatened' to keep alleged affair with Trump secret
(NEW YORK) — A lawyer for Stormy Daniels says his client was threatened to keep her alleged 2006 affair with Donald Trump a secret.
Michael Avenatti, who represents the adult film star, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday that his client had even been threatened with “physical harm.” He did not provide any details or evidence of the alleged threat.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing President Trump, claiming that a nondisclosure agreement she signed precluding her from speaking publicly about their alleged affair is invalid because Trump failed to sign the document as well.
Daniels is expected to deliver her version of the story of their encounter in a highly anticipated taped interview scheduled to air March 25 on CBS’ 60 Minutes.
“The American people can judge for themselves on who is telling the truth and not and, again, we’re not trying to silence anyone,” Avenatti said. “We want both sides to lay out their version of the facts so the American people can decide for themselves what happened.”
Buzzfeed reported last week that Trump’s legal team was weighing a legal challenge to stop CBS from broadcasting the interview, but they have not yet filed a lawsuit.
The story has continued to gain momentum ever since the Wall Street Journal reported in January that Trump’s longtime personal attorney had arranged a $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election.
Trump spokespersons have said that he denies Daniel’s allegations of an affair, and Cohen has said that he was never directly or indirectly reimbursed by Trump for the payment.
One of the outstanding questions that Aventatti wants answered is what role, if any, Trump played in arranging the payment to Daniels. A nonpartisan watchdog group called Common Cause has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about the payoff arguing that it amounted to an unreported in-kind campaign contribution, which would be a violation of campaign finance laws.
“Did [Trump] have anything to do with this payment?” Aventatti asked. “Did he reimburse Mr. Cohen? Did he have a surrogate reimburse Mr. Cohen?”
If the contract is upheld, Daniels stands to face a $1,000,000 penalty for every breach of the nondisclosure agreement, but Aventatti said that he does not think that any court will uphold the terms.
“If the plan by Mr. Cohen and the administration is that they’re going to pursue millions of dollars of damages against a private citizen who wants to exercise her First Amendment right, bring it,” Aventatti said. “That’s our position. Bring it. Because our position is that the agreement was never signed.”
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