LOS ANGELES (CN) – President Donald Trump may be called to testify under oath in the federal case over a hush agreement with adult film star Stormy Daniels regarding an alleged affair, if a federal judge grants a request filed early Wednesday by Daniels’ attorney.
In a 31-page memo filed in the Central District of California, attorney Michael Avenatti asked a federal judge for permission to depose the president and his private attorney Michael Cohen for a period “of no greater than two hours” each.
If the deposition is granted, Trump would have to explain under oath how much he knew about the $130,000 payment Cohen made to Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford.
Avenatti also asked for an expedited jury trial in “no later than 90 days” from the date the judge rules on the motion, and for the depositions to occur within three weeks of the ruling.
In a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday, Clifford said she had consensual unprotected sex with Trump in 2006. Their affair went on into 2007.
As the 2016 election approached, Cohen caught on to Clifford’s effort to share her account of the affair publicly. Cohen prepared a “hush agreement” which Clifford signed just 11 days before the 2016 election. Clifford’s lawsuit centers on whether the nondisclosure agreement is valid or ever existed since Trump never signed it.
Cohen wired a payment to Daniels through Essential Consultants LLC, a company he established to facilitate payment to her. Cohen has said he used his own funds for the transaction and completed the payment without Trump’s knowledge.
Avenatti has asked the Trump Organization to preserve all documents connected to Cohen and Clifford since Cohen used his Trump Organization email to make arrangements with Clifford.
Election watchdog Common Cause has also sued, claiming the payment to Clifford violates federal law as both an expenditure and in-kind contribution to Trump’s election campaign.
Avenatti made 10 “targeted requests for production of documents directed to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen” relating to the nondisclosure agreement. He says the hush agreement was made for the “purpose of influencing” the result of the 2016 election by preventing Clifford from sharing her account just before the election.
Trump and Cohen want the case sent to private arbitration rather than have it play out in front of the public.
Clifford wants a jury to find both the nondisclosure agreement and subsequent arbitration demand invalid or unenforceable.
Also this week, Clifford amended her federal complaint to add Cohen as a defendant. She slapped defamation claims on him, saying he acted with “malice, oppression, or fraud” in his alleged efforts to defame her.
Clifford says she suffered “emotional harm, contempt, ridicule, and shame” and her reputation was harmed due to Cohen’s statements to media that her account of the affair can’t be trusted.
In the “60 Minutes” interview, she told Anderson Cooper she was threatened by a man who approached her and her child in Las Vegas and told her not to go public with the story.
A hearing in the case is set for April 30.