LOS ANGELES (CN) – In her bid to duck a hush agreement following what she says was a sexual fling with President Donald Trump, adult film star Stormy Daniels amended her federal complaint Monday to add Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen as defendant – and to slap him with defamation claims.
In a 41-page amended complaint, Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, said Cohen acted with “malice, oppression, or fraud” when he made “defamatory statements” about her, and is therefore “responsible for punitive damages.”
Clifford says she’s been exposed to “emotional harm, contempt, ridicule, and shame” due to Cohen’s statements about her. She also claims her reputation has suffered and that she’s received “physical threats of violence to her person and life.”
“Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage,” Cohen said in a Feb. 13 statement responding to Clifford’s claims of an affair with Trump.
According to court documents, Clifford and Trump began an intimate relationship in 2006 in Lake Tahoe which carried on into 2007. Around the time Trump secured the Republican nomination for president in 2016, Clifford sought to share details concerning her relationship Mr. Trump with news media, as did several other women at the time.
In order to insulate Trump from scrutiny, Clifford says, Cohen prepared a “hush agreement” for Clifford to sign and established the company Essential Consultants LLC to facilitate payment to her. Clifford filed a suit earlier this month saying the hush agreement is invalid because Trump never signed it.
Cohen filed to remove Clifford’s lawsuit to federal court, saying Clifford violated the agreement and is now liable for damages “in excess of 20 million dollars” as a result.
After the $130,000 in hush money became public this year, Cohen said he paid the money out of his own pocket. Fair elections advocacy group Common Cause filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission March 12 against both Cohen and Trump, claiming the pair violated federal law.
Common Cause says the payment by Cohen, which he facilitated using his Trump Organization email, is “both an expenditure by the 2016 Trump campaign committee and an in-kind contribution” to Trump’s election committee.
Clifford wants a jury to find the nondisclosure agreement and a subsequent arbitration demand invalid or unenforceable.
She says Cohen has attempted to silence her “through the use of an improper and procedurally defective arbitration proceeding hidden from public view.”
Clifford, originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, spoke to “60 Minutes” on Sunday, saying she faced intimidation from entities she suspects are working under the auspices of the Trump Organization.
In the interview, Clifford said she was threatened by a man who approached her and her child in Las Vegas.
“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘leave Trump alone. Forget the story,’” she said.
Her attorney Michael Avenatti sent a letter to the Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, asking that all documents connected to Cohen’s communication with Clifford be preserved, including documents that are connected to Trump family members.
This month, former Playboy model Karen McDougal also sued Trump to be released from a 2016 legal agreement she signed to keep quiet about an affair with the president. She is the second woman to challenge efforts to bury details of the president’s alleged extramarital affairs.
Trump has denied the affairs took place.
While in early stages, both lawsuits could force Trump to testify or give depositions under oath.