NEW YORK — A porn star who said she had an affair with President Trump and is suing so she can discuss the alleged relationship can’t have a jury trial or question the president under oath because the request is premature, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled Thursday.
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, had been seeking to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 presidential election and offered to return the $130,000 she was paid to “set the record straight.”
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, on Wednesday asked for a jury trial and sought sworn testimony from Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, about the payment that was made to Daniels as part of the nondisclosure agreement.
“We’re looking for sworn answers from the president and Mr. Cohen about what they knew, when they knew it and what they did about it,” Avenatti said.
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Adult film actress Stormy Daniels sued US President Trump on Tuesday (March 6), alleging he never signed the nondisclosure agreement his lawyer arranged with her before the 2016 presidential election. The actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles, claiming the agreement is invalid as a result and she is free to publicly discuss the “intimate” relationship she alleges to have had with Trump. The lawsuit, which Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti published in a tweet, says that she signed both the agreement and a side letter using her stage name on October 28, 2016, days before the 2016 US election. Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen signed the document the same day, but Trump himself never signed the document, the lawsuit claims. Cohen confirmed last month he privately paid the actress $130,000 – though he declined to say publicly what it was for. The lawsuit alleges he tried to “intimidate her into silence”. Clifford is now asking the court to declare the agreement invalid so she can go public with her story. Secret meetings at Lake Tahoe In a 2011 interview with InTouch magazine , the actress said she began a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006, shortly after his wife Melania had given birth to his son Barron. The 2016 “hush agreement”, as it is called in the lawsuit, refers to Trump as David Dennison and Clifford as Peggy Peterson. The side letter agreement reveals the true identities of the parties as Clifford and Trump, according to the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, which Clifford’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, announced in a tweet, Clifford and Trump had an intimate relationship that lasted from summer 2006 “well into the year 2007.” The relationship allegedly included meetings in Lake Tahoe and at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Daniels was quoted in a 2011 interview with In Touch Weekly magazine that she had an affair with Trump after they met at a Lake Tahoe golf tournament in 2006, not long after Trump’s wife, Melania, had given birth to their son, Barron. Trump has never publicly addressed the alleged relationship. Cohen has said the president “vehemently denies” any romantic involvement with the adult film star.
Trump’s attorneys filed documents in federal court in Los Angeles this month seeking to compel private arbitration in the case and argued that Daniels could owe about $20 million for violating the agreement.
Daniels argues the agreement is legally invalid because it was only signed by Daniels and Cohen, but was not signed by Trump.
She has said she had sex with Trump once in 2006 and their relationship and continued for about a year. Trump married his current wife, Melania Trump, in 2005, and their son, Barron, was born in 2006.
The White House has said Trump denies having an affair.
Cohen’s attorney, David Schwartz, told CBS that the filing seeking to compel Trump and Cohen’s testimony was a “reckless use of the legal system.”
Avenatti is planning to refile his motion as soon as Trump’s attorneys formally demand an arbitration proceeding in the case, he said Thursday.
The ruling, handed down on Thursday, said the case “is not the most important matter on the court’s docket.”
Michael Balsamo is an Associated Press writer.
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