President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has sought to prevent adult film actress Stephanie Clifford from speaking publicly about an alleged sexual relationship with Trump through a temporary restraining order and other actions, NBC News reported Wednesday.
Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told NBC News Wednesday that “we do not take kindly to these threats,” and that Clifford would continue to seek to tell her story publicly.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal in early February, Cohen acknowledged using his own “personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000” to Clifford in late 2016, but he has denied that any relationship existed between Clifford and Trump.
After Cohen’s acknowledgement, Clifford claimed he had violated a non-disclosure agreement she signed covering the alleged affair, and on Tuesday, Clifford sued Trump, alleging that he never signed the non-disclosure agreement, thus voiding it.
Clifford’s suit also alleged that Cohen “initiated a bogus arbitration proceeding” against her on Feb. 27. NBC News reported that Cohen obtained a temporary restraining order against Clifford from a private arbitrator the same day prohibiting her from discussing “confidential information” related to the NDA.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that the President denied “all of these allegations” — she didn’t specify what she meant — saying separately that “this case had already been won in arbitration.”
A temporary restraining order is far from “winning” a case, if Cohen’s action is what Sanders meant to reference. Avenatti noted to NBC News that Trump was not a party to the arbitration, nor had there been any hearing or decision based on the action.
Avenatti also told NBC News Wednesday that Cohen’s attorney had “further threatened my client in an effort to prevent her from telling the truth about what really happened.”
“We do not take kindly to these threats, nor we will be intimidated,” Avenatti told NBC News.