Stormy Daniels Offers to Return Hush Money to Talk Trump

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Adult film star Stormy Daniels offered to drop her pending lawsuit against President Donald Trump and return money she received as part of a 2016 hush agreement with the then-presidential candidate meant to keep her from sharing details about their alleged affair.

Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, sued Trump last week in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming their $130,000 “hush-money” contract is invalid because Trump did not sign it.

Trump, whose name is blacked out in the agreement, used the pseudonym David Dennison and Clifford is listed as Peggy Peterson, according to the 7-page lawsuit with 28 pages of attachments filed March 7 by Newport Beach, California, attorney Michael Avenatti.

Daniels also sued Essential Consultants, a Delaware limited liability company formed by Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen on Oct. 17, 2016, apparently for the sole purpose of paying Clifford $130,000 in exchange for her silence about a sexual affair with Trump.

Clifford says she “began an intimate relationship with Mr. Trump in the summer of 2006 in Lake Tahoe and continued her relationship with Mr. Trump well into the year 2007.” On at least one occasion they met in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, according to the complaint.

The parties to the hush agreement included Clifford, Trump and Essential Consultants.

“On information and belief, EC was created by Mr. Cohen with Mr. Trump’s knowledge for one purpose – to hide the true source of funds to be used to pay Ms. Clifford, thus further insulating Mr. Trump from later discovery and scrutiny.”

But Clifford says only she and Cohen signed the agreement on Oct. 28, 2016, Cohen on behalf of Essential Consultants. Trump did not, “so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow any knowledge of the hush agreement and Ms. Clifford,” the complaint states.

Trump’s failure to sign renders the agreement null and void, Clifford says.

After the $130,000 in hush money became public this year, Cohen claimed he paid the money out of his own pocket for a sexual affair he denied had occurred.

On Monday, Avenatti sent a letter on Clifford’s behalf to Cohen’s law firm in New York, offering to return the $130,000 on March 16 “to resolve all pending disputes, including the lawsuit and arbitration,” according to the letter shared by multiple news outlets.

Clifford offered to wire the money to Trump in exchange for her release from the hush agreement, “thus permitting Ms. Clifford to speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the president and the attempts to silence her and use and publish any text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the president that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and/or legal liability for damages.”

The offer is only available until Tuesday, according to the letter, at which point it will be withdrawn.

Clifford was recently interviewed by Anderson Cooper for “60 Minutes” piece set to air at a future date. The letter from Avenatti says a condition of Clifford’s offer is Trump and his attorney will not take legal action to stop the interview from airing.

Emails to Avenatti and Cohen seeking comment were not immediately returned.


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