Trump Pushes For Stormy Daniels Suit To Move To Private Arbitration

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 27:  Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels attends the 2018 Adult Video News Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 27, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images North America

President Donald Trump and a company associated with his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen on Monday asked a California judge to move Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit regarding the nondisclosure agreement to private arbitration.

Daniels sued Trump and Essential Consultants, the business established by Cohen, over a hush agreement she signed barring her from discussing her alleged relationship with Trump. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 through Essential Consultants in exchange for her silence. Daniels argues that because Trump never signed the agreement, however, the agreement is invalid. Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, have made the lawsuit a public issue, with Avenatti regularly appearing on cable news shows.

Lawyers for Essential Consultants filed a motion to move the case to private arbitration, hidden from public view, and they argued that the agreement signed by Daniels calls for that. His lawyers also noted that Clifford accepted the $130,000 payment at the time the agreement was signed and did not protest the agreement until more than a year after it was completed. Trump’s lawyer in the case, Charles Harder, submitted a filing joined Essential Consultants in its push for private arbitration.

Avenatti on Monday evening pledged to fight the motion from Trump’s lawyers.

He also noted that the filing did not claim that Trump was unaware of the agreement signed by Essential Consultants and Daniels.

Avenatti last week filed a motion to depose Trump and Cohen in the case. The judge ruled that the motion was premature, however, because Trump’s lawyers had not yet filed a motion to move the case to private arbitration. It may be possible for Avenatti to re-file his request to depose Trump and Cohen soon.

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