Stormy Daniels sues Trump for defamation

Stormy Daniels attends the 2018 Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, on on January 27, 2018.

Ethan Miller / Getty

Stormy Daniels, the porn actress alleging an affair with President Trump, is escalating her legal fight by suing the president for defamation. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, filed the complaint in federal court in New York on Monday. 

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

Read the complaint here:

In the tweet earlier in April, 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)!”

The filing says the tweet was “false and defamatory,” arguing that Mr. Trump was speaking about Daniels and that he “knew that his false, disparaging statement would be read by people around the world, as well as widely reported.”

Clifford argues that Mr. Trump’s statement paints her as a liar and that it has exposed her “to hatred, contempt, ridicule, and shame, and discouraged other from associating or dealing with her.” She states this damages exceed $75,000.

Daniels, is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages. Her attorney Michael Avenatti said Monday: “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 already is suing to be released from a non-disclosure deal she agreed to days before the 2016 election in exchange for $130,000. 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 that Cohen is facing.

Cohen asked for a delay after FBI agents raided his home and office several weeks ago. The FBI was seeking records about the nondisclosure agreement. Cohen’s attorney 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 won’t be able to respond and defend himself.

Aided by her hard-charging attorney, Michael Avenatti, Daniels has aggressively sought to keep her case in the public eye. Several weeks ago, she revealed a sketch on ABC’s “The View” that she said depicts the man who warned her in 2011 to stay quiet about a 2006 tryst with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump faces a number of allegations about his sexual exploits long before he ran for president. The White House says Mr. Trump 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.” Zervos has accused Mr. Trump 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.

Clare Hymes contributed to this report. 

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