LOS ANGELES (CN) – Adult film star Stormy Daniels said in a brief filed Monday she “vigorously opposes” an offer by President Donald Trump and a shell company to tear up a confidentiality agreement concocted during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep the lid on an alleged affair between the two.
Through her attorney Michael Avenatti, Daniels called the offer a “profoundly troubling reality” but said she is willing to meet with the president’s attorneys to discuss it.
Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, sued Trump to get out of the hush agreement put together in 2016 by Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen and the shell company created by Cohen to facilitate the agreement, Essential Consultants, LLC.
In her complaint, Daniels says she signed the agreement using the pseudonym Peggy Peterson and Trump was listed in the contract as David Dennison. She says the contract is invalid because Trump never signed his name.
After Daniels sued, Trump and the shell company slapped her with a $20 million countersuit claiming she violated the terms of the agreement.
In August, Cohen admitted in a federal court in New York that he made two payments to two women in 2016 to ensure they “did not publicize damaging allegations before the 2016 presidential election and thereby influence that election,” according to the criminal complaint against him. He pleaded guilty to eight charges ranging from tax evasion to campaign finance violations.
Trump’s offer to let Daniels out of the hush agreement came after Cohen’s attorney Brent Blakely filed a brief in the Central District of California on Friday, indicating Essential Consultants would tear up the deal. Trump’s attorney Charles Harder filed a similar offer Saturday which said “no actual controversy exists between Ms. Clifford and Mr. Trump regarding the confidential supplemental agreement dated Oct. 28, 2016” because the deal never existed, he was never a party to it and never said he was.
In their respective filings, Trump and Essential Consultants agreed to not fight Daniels in arbitration proceedings over the hush agreement and said they will not sue her for $20 million for violating the terms of the deal.
“Accordingly, Ms. Clifford should immediately dismiss Mr. Trump from this lawsuit,” the president’s brief said.
In her response Monday, Daniels said Cohen and Trump have been behind a campaign to “intimidate and bully” her since February 2018, which included the White House “boasting to the press that the arbitration had already been won.”
She added: “To the American public, defendants waged a forceful public relations campaign to discredit and bully Ms. Clifford. Mr. Cohen promised that he would ‘take a vacation on Ms. Clifford’s dime’ with the money he would collect from her in enforcing the settlement agreement.”
Daniels said Trump, Essential Consultants and Cohen shouldn’t be allowed “to exit the case without facing any true consequences or a meaningful inquiry into the truth. The public interest in continuing with this case is self-evident.”
Both Trump and Cohen indicated they will ask to have Daniels’ lawsuit dismissed if she refuses their offer, as the lack of a controversy means “the court therefore lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to decide this claim” according to Trump’s brief.
An email to Blakely and Harder were not immediately answered as of press time.
Also Monday, in Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against the president in which she claims he destroyed her reputation in a dismissive tweet, Trump’s lawyers again stressed the action should be dumped on anti-SLAPP grounds.
Daniels’ defamation action stems from her claims of being threatened in a Las Vegas parking lot to keep quiet about her relationship with Trump and not go forward with a planned tell-all. She and Avenatti appeared on “The View” this year to show America a sketch of the man she says threatened her in the 2011 incident.
After the TV appearance, Trump tweeted comments dismissing Daniels’ story as an elaborate ploy.
“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man,” Trump tweeted on April 18. “A total con job playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
On Aug. 28, Trump asked the judge to strike Daniels’ action on anti-SLAPP grounds, arguing she can’t show she’s been damaged when she’s criss-crossing the country appearing at strip clubs “making money – not suffering economic harm – as a result of her disputes with the president,” according to the motion.
He reiterated in a supplemental brief filed Monday that his tweet is protected opinion, Daniels hasn’t been damaged and the suit should be tossed.