- A federal judge turned down a request made by porn star Stormy Daniels’s lawyer to depose President Donald Trump under oath.
- The judge said the request was “premature,” and the porn star’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, said he will refile the motion seeking Trump’s testimony soon.
- Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, sued Trump earlier this month, arguing that the agreement she signed in 2016 to remain silent about her alleged affair with Trump is void because the president never signed it.
A federal judge turned down a request on Thursday from porn star Stormy Daniels’s lawyer to depose President Donald Trump as part of her lawsuit against him over a 2016 hush agreement.
Lawyer Michael Avenatti said that he would refile the motion to seek Trump’s testimony under oath, which Judge S. James Otero denied on procedural grounds, calling it “premature.”
Otero is waiting for Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to file a petition to send the case into private arbitration, rather than a public federal trial – something they have stated they will do.
Avenatti tweeted that he expects Cohen and Essential Consultants – the LLC Cohen created to facilitate a hush payment to the porn star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford – to file their petition “any day.”
Here is an order from the Ct denying our motion as premature on procedural grounds. We will refile the motion as soon as DT, MC, and EC, LLC file their motion to compel arbitration seeking to hide the facts from public view. We expect this any day. https://t.co/H85pmKdISK
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 29, 2018
Clifford claims that she had sex with Trump once in 2006, a few months after Trump’s wife Melania gave birth to the couple’s son, Barron, and continued to see Trump for several months. Just ten days before the 2016 election, Cohen paid $US130,000 of what he says was his personal money to Clifford to compel her to stay silent about the alleged affair.
The adult-film star told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Sunday that she was threatened by an associate of Trump’s in 2011, shortly after she attempted to sell the story of her relationship with Trump to InTouch Magazine.
The Wall Street Journal broke the story of the payment in January 2018. Shortly after, InTouch published the transcript of a lengthy interview it conducted with Clifford in 2011 in which she detailed the affair.
Clifford sued the president on March 6, arguing that the nondisclosure agreement she said was designed to conceal the affair is invalid because the president never signed it. The suit claimed Trump “purposely did not sign the agreement so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow any knowledge of the Hush Agreement and Ms. Clifford.”
Cohen, who has admitted to facilitating the $US130,000 payment, denied the negotiations or the payment were made on behalf of the Trump Organisation or the Trump campaign. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders continues to maintain that the president denies having any relationship with Clifford and did not know about the payment or the non-disclosure agreement.
On Wednesday, Cohen’s attorney, David Schwartz, also said that Trump was not aware of the nondisclosure agreement and that Cohen acted independently of the then-presidential candidate in dealing with Clifford.
Some legal experts say this admission means that the nondisclosure agreement is, indeed, void and that Clifford can release the documentary evidence she has suggested she has regarding their relationship.