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Stormy Daniels files defamation lawsuit against Trump

President Donald Trump's chief provocateur has struck again -- this time with a lawsuit alleging defamation of adult ...

Posted: May 1, 2018 11:29 AM
Updated: May 1, 2018 11:29 AM

President Donald Trump's chief provocateur has struck again -- this time with a lawsuit alleging defamation of adult film star Stormy Daniels.

In what appeared to be an effort to keep her case at the center of the news after a delay in a related case in California, Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, filed a new lawsuit on Daniels' behalf on Monday. The suit alleges that Trump attempted to tarnish her reputation and credibility by dismissing her account -- and subsequent description -- of a man who threatened her in 2011, at a time when she was ready to go public about her alleged affair with Trump.

The lawsuit filed Monday by Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, in federal court in New York targets Trump's tweet on April 18 dismissing a composite sketch of a man who the adult film star says threatened her over her alleged affair with Trump more than a decade ago.

In that tweet, Trump called the composite sketch "a total con job." The lawsuit says Daniels suffered damages in excess of $75,000.

"By calling the incident a 'con job,' Mr. Trump's statement would be understood to state that Ms. Clifford was fabricating the crime and the existence of the assailant, both of which are prohibited under New York law, as well as the law of numerous other states," Avenatti wrote in the lawsuit.

"It was apparent that Mr. Trump meant to convey that Ms. Clifford is a liar, someone who should not be trusted, that her claims about the threatening encounter are false, and that she was falsely accusing the individual depicted in the sketch of committing a crime, where no crime had been committed. ... Mr. Trump made his statement either knowing it was false, had serious doubts about the truth of his statement, or made the statement with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity."

The suit is separate from another lawsuit in which Daniels is suing Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, over the legality of a 2016 hush agreement in which she was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about the alleged affair with Trump.

The President, who is also a defendant in that lawsuit, has denied any sexual encounter between the two. Daniels also has sued Cohen for defamation.

The language in Monday's lawsuit about how Daniels' alleged affair with Trump came to the attention of InTouch magazine conflicts with CNN's reporting on the matter.

In the lawsuit, Avenatti claims that Daniels agreed to cooperate with InTouch in May 2011 on an article about the alleged affair that was being pushed to the magazine by Daniels' ex-husband.

The lawsuit contends that Daniels' ex-husband approached the magazine without approval from Daniels, adding that "she did so only after being told that the magazine was going to be running the story with or without her cooperation."

But two sources with knowledge of the arrangement told CNN that it was Daniels' manager, Gina Rodriguez, who was peddling the story on behalf of Daniels. The adult film star, the sources said, did the interview willingly and went so far as to sit for a lie detector test.

When asked about the conflicting account of how Daniels connected with InTouch, Avenatti told CNN it was "complete and utter nonsense. An absolute fabrication. And in any event, irrelevant."

Daniels contends that she was threatened in Las Vegas a few weeks after sharing her story with InTouch. She has said that a man -- who became the subject of the composite sketch referenced by Trump earlier this month -- approached her in a parking lot and said, "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story."

According to her account, the man then leaned in, looked at Daniels' infant daughter and said: "That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom." (InTouch never published the story.)

After the composite sketch of the man was released publicly on April 17 at Daniels' behest, the President referenced her account in a tweet.

"A sketch years later about a nonexistent man," Trump tweeted on April 18. "A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!"

Avenatti's move Monday seemed designed to draw fresh attention to Daniels' claims after a California judge halted her lawsuit against Cohen for 90 days while a criminal investigation of him moves forward in New York.

But some legal analysts have interpreted Avenatti's moves against Cohen, and now the President, as an effort to compel Trump and his lawyer to give a deposition under oath, as investigators probe the circumstances around Cohen's $130,000 payment to Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

In mid-April, the FBI raided Cohen's office, home and a hotel room that he was using. They seized recordings he had made of his conversations with Daniels' former lawyer, Keith Davidson.

When asked Monday why it was necessary to file the lawsuits in two different legal jurisdictions, Avenatti told CNN that "it wasn't by accident" that they decided to file a separate defamation suit against Trump on Monday in New York. He declined, however, to explain the thinking behind his strategy.

"I'm not at liberty to get into that. But it wasn't by accident," he said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon.

Avenatti said the suggestion that Daniels' latest case is a media ploy is "absolutely baseless, absurd, moronic and ridiculous."

"We did not force the President to issue this defamatory tweet," Avenatti said, referring to Trump's tweet on April 18.

"We stated immediately after it was issued that we were going to be bringing this claim either in the LA case or in a separate matter. And that's exactly what we've done."

Avenatti has said Daniels plans to file an appeal challenging the move by the California judge to issue a 90-day stay.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 513622

Reported Deaths: 10264
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34892556
DeSoto33234432
Hinds32638641
Jackson24854389
Rankin22507403
Lee16337242
Madison14922283
Jones14113247
Forrest13766259
Lauderdale12270324
Lowndes11305193
Lamar10659140
Pearl River9719244
Lafayette8846143
Hancock7836132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7210138
Monroe7010179
Pontotoc6990109
Warren6863178
Panola6759134
Neshoba6730210
Marshall6678141
Bolivar6445151
Union638297
Pike5928156
Alcorn5879107
Lincoln5530136
George510180
Prentiss503884
Tippah491482
Itawamba4844107
Scott477899
Adams4768125
Tate4756116
Leflore4729144
Copiah456495
Yazoo456491
Simpson4546117
Wayne443072
Covington433695
Sunflower4299106
Marion4277112
Coahoma4237109
Leake413990
Newton395781
Tishomingo383593
Grenada3777109
Stone365866
Jasper340666
Attala338290
Winston317892
Chickasaw315467
Clay312278
Clarke301195
Calhoun285049
Holmes271889
Smith269052
Yalobusha243947
Tallahatchie231553
Greene224749
Walthall221666
Lawrence218740
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster205348
Noxubee188742
Montgomery181657
Carroll174541
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152939
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134338
Humphreys131239
Franklin125529
Quitman107628
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65221
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845284

Reported Deaths: 16116
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161552006
Mobile742111380
Madison53307732
Shelby38338368
Baldwin38085589
Tuscaloosa36022641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25562263
Calhoun22586518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20018517
Marshall18782316
Houston17731425
St. Clair16884358
Limestone16148218
Cullman16054303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14989306
Talladega14196299
DeKalb12972269
Walker12030380
Blount10717192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10162194
Coffee9417192
Colbert9342208
Dale9020191
Tallapoosa7256201
Russell708165
Chilton7018170
Escambia6957143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5406130
Dallas5285209
Pike5119109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369580
Butler3435100
Marengo342493
Monroe337266
Randolph334867
Pickens333188
Fayette330385
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317863
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244864
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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