Stormy Daniels alleged in a new lawsuit Wednesday that her former lawyer acted as a “puppet” for Trump fixer Michael Cohen earlier this year in an attempt to get her to go on Fox News and deny having an affair with President Trump.
NBC News first reported the lawsuit.
The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that the lawyer, Keith Davidson, engaged in a breach of fiduciary duty to Daniels, while Cohen aided and abetted his efforts to do so. The court filing contains chummy text messages between the two men, including one in which Cohen calls Davidson “pal.”
“Mr. Davidson abdicated his role as an advocate and fiduciary of his client Ms. Clifford and instead elected to be a puppet for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump in order to advance their interests at the expense of Ms. Clifford,” the suit claims, referring to Daniels by her given name, Stephanie Clifford.
The month before the 2016 presidential election, Davidson worked on Daniels’ behalf to broker an agreement with Cohen that provided her with $130,000 in exchange for keeping silent about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump.
Per the complaint, Davidson “continued to regularly communicate” with Cohen in the following months without Daniels’ knowledge. On January 1,7 2018, the day that In Touch Magazine published an old interview in which Daniels discussed her alleged liaison with Trump, the two men discussed booking her for an appearance with Fox host Sean Hannity so she could deny her previous claims, the messages show.
“I have her tentatively scheduled for Hannity tonight,” Cohen said to Davidson.
After Davidson replied that Daniels wouldn’t be able to make the interview, Cohen sent an increasingly harried barrage of texts urging her to appear on the show.
By late afternoon, Cohen appeared to calm down, saying “they” want to wait until the following day “so they can promote the heck out of the show.” It’s not clear who the “they refers to.
Hours later, in another message, Cohen wrote: “The wise men all believe the story is dying and don’t think it’s smart for her to do any interviews.”
“100%,” Davidson replies.
“Thanks pal,” Cohen says, adding in another text: “Just no interviews or statement unless through you.”
The suit alleges that the “wise men” refer to President Trump and his allies.
At no time did Davidson tell Daniels he was communicating with Cohen or seek her permission to do so, the suit claims. It also alleges that Davidson broke client confidentiality by tipping off Cohen in a series of conversations in late February and early March that Clifford planned to switch counsel and go public with the story of her affair.
Davidson spokesman David Wedge told NBC News that the suit was “outrageously frivolous.”
“That said, Attorney Davidson is very happy that he has filed this lawsuit because he strongly believes that the filing constitutes a full and complete waiver of the attorney-client privilege,” Wedge said in the statement.
Daniels, who is now represented by Michael Avenatti, is seeking damages “in excess of $100,000” from each man, all communications Davidson possesses relating to her, and a jury trial.
Avenatti is also representing Daniels in two other suits: her defamation lawsuit against Trump and request to be released from the non-disclosure agreement Cohen brokered on Trump’s behalf.
Former Playboy model Karen McDougal has made similar allegations against Davidson, who represented her in a separate hush money agreement negotiated ahead of the 2016 election. McDougal sued Davidson to be released from her agreement earlier this year, claiming that he had not represented her interests and was secretly communicating with Cohen.
Read the full complaint below:
This post has been updated.