The attorney representing the porn star who is suing President Donald Trump says the President’s personal lawyer had a restraining order issued against her and continues to pressure her to keep her silent.
Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, has filed a lawsuit against Trump in which she cites multiple instances of Trump’s legal counsel, Michael Cohen, working to keep her from speaking out about an alleged sexual encounter.
Clifford’s attorney said a private mediator issued the temporary restraining order against Clifford on behalf of Cohen on February 27, and has cautioned Clifford to keep quiet as recently as Wednesday.
“Earlier today, Mr. Cohen through his attorney, Mr. (Lawrence) Rosen, further threatened my client in an effort to prevent her from telling the truth about what really happened,” said Michael Avenatti, Clifford’s lawyer, adding, “we do not take kindly to these threats, nor will we be intimidated.”
According to the legal complaint filed in California state court, Clifford is claiming that a non-disclosure agreement is void because Trump never signed it himself. The “hush” agreement allegedly regards an affair involving the two several years before Trump was in office.
Just weeks before the 2016 election, Cohen paid Clifford $130,000, an admission he made in a statement last month.
“Despite Mr. Trump’s failure to sign the Hush Agreement, Mr. Cohen proceeded to cause $130,000.00 to be wired to the trust account of Ms. Clifford’s attorney. He did so even though there was no legal agreement and thus no written nondisclosure agreement whereby Ms. Clifford was restricted from disclosing the truth about Mr. Trump,” the document states.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders fielded questions about the payment and said Trump didn’t know about it – as far as she knew.
“Not that I’m aware of,” Sanders responded when pressed on whether Trump knew about the payment. “Anything beyond what I’ve already given you, I would refer you to the President’s outside counsel.”
Sanders also said that “the arbitration was won in the President’s favor,” admitting for the first time that a non-disclosure agreement did exist, and that the President is involved.
However, in a copy of the restraining order given to CNN, the emergency arbitrator clearly states that it is an “interim order” that can be modified.
When asked about the comments Sanders made regarding the arbitration, Avenatti said, “President Trump hasn’t won anything relating to Ms. Clifford.”
He added, “First of all, it does not appear as if he was even a party to the arbitration Ms. Sanders is referring to. How can you win something you’re not even a part of? Secondly, claiming that Mr. Trump ‘won’ at arbitration when there has been no hearing, no notice to Ms. Clifford, no opportunity given to her to respond and no decision on the merits is completely bogus.”
Cohen’s lawyer, Rosen, said the settlement agreement had a clause that allowed the LLC “to seek an injunction in the event of a breach or threatened breach of the agreement.”
“The designated judge from the arbitration tribunal found that Ms. Clifford had violated the agreement and enjoined her from, among other things, filing this lawsuit,” Rosen said. “We intend to pursue our recourse in the context of the arbitration as agreed to by the parties and continue to categorically refute the claims alleged by Ms. Clifford and her counsel.”
CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Gloria Borger contributed to this report.