Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress claiming to have had an affair with Donald Trump, has sued the president for defamation.
The suit centres around one of Mr Trump’s tweets, in which he claimed parts of Ms Daniels story were a “total con job”. Mr Trump has denied having an affair with Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
“Moments ago, we filed this lawsuit against Mr Trump for his recent irresponsible and defamatory statements about my client,” Ms Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, said on Twitter. “He is well aware of what transpired and his complicity. We fully intend on bringing it to light.”
Ms Daniels claims she had an affair with Mr Trump in 2006, months after the birth of his son, Barron. When she tried to speak out about it in 2011, she claims, she was approached by a stranger who told her to “leave Trump alone”.
Recounting this story on The View last month, Ms Daniels also released a forensic sketch of the man she says threatened her. Mr Avenatti offered a reward for anyone with information on the man.
Mr Trump shot back on Twitter, writing: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
In the defamation suit filed in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, Mr Avenatti alleges the tweet was “released by Mr Trump with the intent that it be widely disseminated and repeated”.
“Indeed, Mr Trump knows that his personal Twitter account has an audience of over 50 million followers and that the Twitter post would be repeated and reported upon by other news and media outlets online, in print, and on television and radio,” the lawsuit states.
The suit claims Ms Daniels was exposed to hatred, contempt, and ridicule as a result, and is owed at least $75,000 in damages.
The filing comes just days after a federal judge put a 90-day holdon Ms Daniels’ lawsuit against Michael Cohen, the president’s lawyer.
Ms Daniels is suing Mr Cohen in an attempt to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement she signed shortly before the election, in exchange for $130,000. She says the agreement was an attempt to silence her claims of an affair.
The White House has denied Ms Daniels’ allegations.
“I’ve had conversations with the president about this,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last month. “..There was no knowledge of any payments from the president and he’s denied all of these allegations.”
Mr Cohen has admitted to paying Ms Daniels the $130,000, but says it was out of his own pocket. Mr Trump claims he was unaware of the deal.
US District Court Judge James Otero put a three-month hold on the case last Friday, in light of a new criminal investigation involving Mr Cohen.
Mr Avenatti said he planned to appeal the ruling, adding: “Justice delayed is justice denied”.