Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, sued President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, on Monday.
Clifford alleged Cohen defamed her by implying she was lying about an alleged affair with Trump, the Washington Post first reported.
Clifford and attorney Michael Avenatti added the defamation complaint to their previous suit against Trump, and Essential Consultants, LLC, the corporate body Cohen used to send $130,000 in hush money to Clifford.
In the original suit, Clifford argued that a nondisclosure agreement she signed covering the alleged affair isn’t valid because Trump never signed it.
The amended complaint quotes Cohen’s denial of any affair between Trump and Clifford in a Feb. 13 statement. “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage,” Cohen said at the time, after acknowledging he’d used his personal funds to “facilitate” the payment to Clifford.
“I will always protect Mr. Trump,” Cohen added.
After Cohen released that statement, Clifford’s amended complaint reads, “it was reasonably understood Mr. Cohen meant to convey that Ms. Clifford is a liar, someone who should not be trusted, and that her claims about her relationship with Mr. Trump is ‘something [that] isn’t true.’”
“Mr. Cohen’s statement exposed Mr. Clifford to hatred, contempt, ridicule, and shame, and discouraged others from associating or dealing with her.”
The amended suit also added quite a bit of information regarding Clifford’s original claim that the NDA she signed is invalid.
Among them: that the NDA’s $1 million penalties for “each breach” bear “no reasonable relationship to the range of actual damages that the parties could have anticipated would flow from a breach.” The amended suit labels the penalties “unconscionable” and “designed to intimidate and financially cripple Plaintiff.”
Also, if Cohen’s hush money payment is deemed an illegally large and secretive in-kind political contribution to Trump — as the amended suit and several watchdog groups claim — then the NDA governing it was not created for a lawful purpose but rather in order to suppress Clifford’s speech “on a matter of enormous public concern.”
Indeed, were a porn star to have exposed a presidential candidate’s affair with her weeks before an election, and days after he was revealed to have bragged about sexual assault during a taping of “Access Hollywood,” it may have changed the course of the election.
Avenatti explained the new action on MSNBC shortly after news of the amended complaint broke:
— Deadline White House (@DeadlineWH) March 26, 2018
Read the amended lawsuit below. The allegation against Cohen is made on pp. 17:
This post has been updated.