Stormy Ups Ante on Efforts to Depose Trump

This combination photo shows, from left, President Donald Trump, attorney Michael Cohen and adult film actress Stormy Daniels. (AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Responding to President Donald Trump’s effort to dump her lawsuit, adult film star Stormy Daniels on Monday renewed her bid to depose the president about his knowledge of a threat made against her in 2011 incident after she made plans to tell the story of her alleged affair with Trump.

Daniels, born Stephanie Clifford, said that while she was working in 2011 to publish a tell-all expose about her affair with Trump, a man approached her and her infant daughter in a Las Vegas parking lot and threatened her to keep quiet.

She sued the president on a defamation claim this past April after he tweeted comments dismissing Daniels’ story of the threat as an elaborate ploy.

In an opposition to Trump’s effort to strike, filed Monday, Daniels said Trump is “uniquely and exclusively situated” to provide information on what he knew about the underlying facts of the incident. She also said Trump’s motion should be denied as premature until he is deposed since “it is reasonable to infer” that the person who threatened her could be connected to Trump.

This artist’s drawing released by attorney Michael Avenatti, reports to show the man that the adult film actress Stormy Daniels says threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 to remain quiet about her affair with President Donald Trump. (Michael Avenatti via AP)

Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder of Harder LLP, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In his motion to strike Daniels’ suit last month, Trump argued Daniels can’t claim to have been damaged by a presidential tweet when she’s making big money from her newfound fame. He noted she’s become famous due to her legal tussle with him and is capitalizing on it by “embarking on a nationwide tour of adult live entertainment venues” where she is regularly paid four times her normal fee.

But Daniels called Trump’s argument a “red herring” and said he cited “hearsay news articles” to back up his claims about appearance fees on her nationwide “Make America Horny Again” strip club tour.

Daniels sued Trump and shell company Essential Consultants in a separate case to nullify a confidentiality agreement. She claims that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen paid her $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged 2006 affair.

The White House has denied an affair ever took place.

Due to the legal tussle with Trump, Daniels has received “an increase in threats and abuse, including scorn and ridicule” from the public that makes her fear for her safety, according to Monday’s filing.

“These threats and abuse include death threats and threats of physical violence and, as a result, she has felt emotional distress and mental anguish,” Daniels said.

Daniels also rejected Trump’s bid to strike her lawsuit on anti-SLAPP grounds. He said his tweets are protected speech because they’re opinions on matters concerning the public, but Daniels said the tweet in question was a false statement and can’t be protected.

She also called Trump’s motion “akin” to a motion for summary judgment, an attempt to duck Daniels’ efforts to depose him.

She also said Trump’s tweet accused her of committing a serious crime and therefore amounts to defamation per se – meaning she doesn’t have to prove damages or that the president tweeted with malice.

“Until plaintiff has conducted discovery, her allegation in the complaint regarding malice are sufficient,” Daniels said in her brief. “Nevertheless, even in the absence of discovery, Mr. Trump has not established that malice has not been demonstrated.”

In the event U.S District Judge S. James Otero grants Trump’s motion to strike on anti-SLAPP grounds, Daniels wants permission to amend her complaint.

Daniels also said Trump’s motion should be denied as “procedurally improper” since it was filed only four days after both parties met and court rules require a 7-day waiting period between meeting and filing.

Attorney Michael Avenatti represents Daniels and filed the reply brief on her behalf.

 

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