Playboy president seeks to profit from porn star – and more!

When last we checked in on the reality TV show “the playboy president and the porn star,” Stormy clouds over the Trump White House: 60 Minutes and a court date, adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, had filed a lawsuit (and attached exhibits) (.pdf) to void a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with Donald Trump, identified by the alias David Dennison in the NDA, drafted and entered into by Michael Cohen, the “top attorney” and “fixer” for the Trump organization.

Last Friday, Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” repeatedly said that his client had been threatened, but wouldn’t disclose by who. He also declined to give details on the nature of the threats. Stormy Daniels’ lawyer says she was threatened with physical harm:

“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski then asked whether Clifford was “threatened in any way.”

Avenatti responded, “Yes.”

“Was she threatened with physical harm,” Brzezinski then asked.

“Yes,” Avenatti said.

“Was her life threatened?” Brzezinski inquired.

“I’m not going to answer that. People will have to tune in,” he said, referring to an interview Clifford did with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that is scheduled to air March 25.

A moment later, Brzezinski and co-host Joe Scarborough asked again about the threats, but Avenatti said, “I can’t tell you anything beyond what I’ve already said.”

“Can you tell us whether it came from the president directly,” Scarborough asked.

“I’m not going to answer that,” Avenatti said.

When asked if he would “deny that the President of the United States threatened your client,” Avenatti said he “will not confirm or deny.”

Brzezinski took one last stab, asking Avenatti if the threat was “verbal,” or “did anyone point a gun at her?”

“I’m not at liberty to discuss that,” Avenatti said.

Avenatti was doing a good PR job of promoting his client’s 60 Minutes interview scheduled to air this Sunday.

On Friday night, Michael Cohen, attorney for Donald Trump alias David Dennison, filed a motion to remove Daniels’ case from state court to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (federal courts tend to be more favorable to enforcing NDAs).

More importantly, Dennison, er, Trump alleges $20 million in damages in order to meet the diversity removal jurisdiction requirements. Trump attorney accuses Stormy Daniels of violating nondisclosure agreement 20 times, claims right to seek $20 million in damages:

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, claims he has the right to seek at least $20 million in damages from porn star Stormy Daniels for allegedly violating a nondisclosure agreement 20 times.

A lawyer for Cohen’s limited liability company, Essential Consultants, made the claim in papers filed in federal court Friday.

Cohen also intends to force the dispute with Daniels, who alleges she was secretly paid to keep quiet about an affair with the president, out of the public eye and back into private arbitration, according to the court filing.

In a separate document also filed Friday, a lawyer representing Trump said he intends to join the push to return the proceedings to arbitration, in which all proceedings are confidential.

Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Daniels, said the threat by Cohen and Trump to pursue millions of dollars in damages, and their efforts to take the matter behind closed doors, amounted to bullying of his client.

“To put it simply — they want to hide the truth from the American people. We will oppose this effort at every turn,” Avenatti wrote in an email. “The fact that a sitting president is pursuing over $20 million in bogus ‘damages’ against a private citizen, who is only trying to tell the public what really happened, is truly remarkable. Likely unprecedented in our history. We are not going away and we will not be intimidated by these threats.”

Daniels’ attorney Michel Avenatti alleged in the lawsuit that the NDA is unenforceable because Donald Trump never signed it, and this type of agreement requires the parties to the agreement to sign to form an agreement.

Moreover, Trump has denied (1) that he had an affair with Daniels and (2) that he has an NDA with her, so what is the basis for him to sue to enforce this NDA and to profit off this porn star to the tune of $20 million? This is quite literally insane.

Today we learn that Stormy Daniels underwent a polygraph exam in 2011 about her relationship with Donald Trump, and the examiner found there was a more than 99 percent probability she told the truth when she said they had unprotected sex in 2006, according to a copy of the report obtained by NBC News Tuesday.

NBC News reports, Lie detector test indicates Stormy Daniels truthful about Trump affair:

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, took the lie detector test at the request of Life & Style magazine that interviewed her in 2011 — a sister publication to InTouch Weekly which published the full interview this February, following the Wall Street Journal’s reporting on the 2016 payment — but didn’t publish the content at the time.

The report is accompanied by a sworn declaration from the examiner, signed on Monday, March 19, 2018, attesting to the polygraph report’s authenticity. Details of the report were first published by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 2.03.58 PM

Michael Avenatti, Clifford’s attorney, has confirmed to NBC News that this photo is a from a video of Clifford taken during a polygraph exam conducted in May 2011 at which she was asked about her relationship with Trump.

“Long before Mr. Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency, Ms. Clifford passed a lie detector test confirming her relationship with Mr. Trump,” Avenatti said. “Where are his test results claiming otherwise? Where are Mr. Cohen’s test results claiming otherwise? When this is over, the American people will know the truth about the relationship and the cover-up.”

Lie detector tests are generally inadmissible in court, but in the court of public opinion, they are damning. Michael Avenatti is beating Trump at his own game.

Also today, another former Trump girlfriend, former Playboy Playmate of The Year (1998) Karen McDougal, sued to be released from the 2016 agreement she signed with American Media Inc., the parent company of the trash tabloid The National Inquirer, which never published hr story to protect Donald Trump. Former Playboy Model Karen McDougal Sues to Break Silence on Trump:

A former Playboy model who claimed she had an affair with Donald J. Trump sued on Tuesday to be released from a 2016 legal agreement requiring her silence, becoming the second woman this month to challenge Trump allies’ efforts during the presidential campaign to bury stories about extramarital relationships.

(Read the complaint.)

The model, Karen McDougal, is suing the company that owns The National Enquirer, American Media Inc., which paid her $150,000 and whose chief executive David Pecker (that’s his real name, you can’t make this stuff up) is a friend of President Trump’s.

* * *

Ms. McDougal, in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that Mr. Cohen was secretly involved in her talks with A.M.I., and that the media company and her lawyer at the time misled her about the deal. She also asserts that after she spoke with The New Yorker last month after it obtained notes she kept on Mr. Trump, A.M.I. warned that “any further disclosures would breach Karen’s contract” and “cause considerable monetary damages.”

In an email to The New York Times, her new lawyer, Peter K. Stris, accused A.M.I. of “a multifaceted effort to silence Karen McDougal.”

“The lawsuit filed today aims to restore her right to her own voice,” he said, adding, “We intend to invalidate the so-called contract that American Media Inc. imposed on Karen so she can move forward with the private life she deserves.”

* * *

[B]oth women’s suits could provide more fodder for federal complaints from the watchdog group Common Cause that the payoffs were, effectively, illegal campaign contributions.

Ms. Clifford and Ms. McDougal tell strikingly similar stories about their experiences with Mr. Trump, which included alleged trysts at the same Lake Tahoe golf tournament in 2006, dates at the same Beverly Hills hotel and promises of apartments as gifts. Their stories first surfaced in the The Wall Street Journal four days before the election, but got little traction in the swirl of news that followed Mr. Trump’s victory. The women even shared the same Los Angeles lawyer, Keith Davidson, who has long worked for clients who sell their stories to the tabloids.

Ms. McDougal negotiated with the country’s leading tabloid trash news provider, A.M.I., which is known to buy and bury stories that might damage friends and allies of its chief executive, David J. Pecker — a practice known as “catch and kill.”

Ms. McDougal’s legal complaint alleges that she did not know about the practice, or about Mr. Pecker’s friendship with Mr. Trump, when she began talking to company representatives in spring 2016, shortly after Mr. Trump locked up the Republican nomination.

McDougal is essentially asserting the affirmative defense that she was fraudulently induced to enter into a contract.

A.M.I. told The Times last month that it decided not to print Ms. McDougal’s story because it could not verify important details, though it acknowledged discussing her allegations with Mr. Cohen, the president’s lawyer, saying it did so as part of its reporting process.

The tabloid company showed renewed interest in the story in summer 2016, when Ms. McDougal began talks with ABC News. This time, A.M.I. offered a different deal.

Mr. Davidson informed her that A.M.I. would buy her story but not publish it because of Mr. Pecker’s relationship with Mr. Trump, the suit says. The payment would be $150,000, with Mr. Davidson and others involved on her behalf taking 45 percent. More alluring to Ms. McDougal, who is now a fitness specialist, was that the media company would feature her on its covers and in regular health and fitness columns, the complaint says.

* * *

After signing the contract, Ms. McDougal grew frustrated when she did not hear about columns or cover shoots for several weeks. She later figured out why. Though the agreement explicitly mentioned “a monthly column” on aging and fitness for OK! and Star, and “four posts each month” on Radar Online, it only gave A.M.I. “the right” to print them. It was not an obligation.

“She was tricked into signing it while being misled as to its contents (including by her own lawyer, on whose advice she was entitled to rely),” the lawsuit reads. So far, A.M.I. has run one cover and roughly two dozen columns or posts featuring her. The company later amended her contract to let her respond to “legitimate press inquiries” about Mr. Trump.

Mr. Stris contends that his client was misled and that the contract was executed under fraudulent circumstances, giving her the right to sue in court rather than proceed in arbitration.

Finally, a New York judge ruled Tuesday that the defamation lawsuit against President Trump related to an allegation that he sexually harassed a former “Apprentice” contestant may go forward. Judge rules defamation case against Trump may proceed:

Summer Zervos filed the suit last year after Trump said publicly that she and other women making similar claims made them up. Trump sought to block the legal action, but New York Supreme Court Judge Jennifer G. Schecter, citing court precedent that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681 (1997), said that “a sitting president is not immune from being sued in federal court for unofficial acts.”

Trump’s attorneys argued that the president cannot be sued in state court and also argued that the comments he made were political opinion and, as a result, “squarely protected by the First Amendment.” Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s personal attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the ruling Tuesday.

The judge’s ruling is a setback for Trump at a time when his history with women has surged to the fore after recent revelations regarding his alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, an adult film star. Daniels has said she was secretly paid to stay silent about an affair with Trump a decade before he took office.

* * *

The ruling Tuesday was blunt in dismissing an argument made by Trump’s attorneys that he cannot be sued in state court while in office.

“No one is above the law,” Schecter wrote. It is settled [law] that the President of the United States has no immunity and is ‘subject to the laws’ for purely private acts.”

* * *

In her ruling, Schecter also dismissed a request that the case be stayed for the duration of Trump’s time in office, saying that such “a lengthy and categorical stay is not justified” just because a president can be called away to attend to a crisis. If that happens, Schecter wrote, Trump’s federal responsibilities would be given priority.

Schecter wrote that Trump’s comments calling Zervos a liar “cannot be characterized simply as opinion, heated rhetoric or hyperbole.”

* * *

Mariann Meier Wang, co-counsel for Zervos with women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, wrote in an email, “The rule of law and sound reason have prevailed today. We are grateful for the opportunity to prove that the Defendant falsely branded Ms. Zervos a phony for telling the truth about his unwanted sexual groping.”

Allred wrote in an email, “I am very happy.”

Serve that notice of deposition, Gloria! Go get him.

Any litigation aimed at stopping 60 Minutes from airing Anderson Cooper’s interview of Stormy Daniels this Sunday likely would fail, given protections for press freedom against prior restraints — most famously laid out in the Pentagon Papers case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the New York Times and the Washington Post could publish, over the objections of the Nixon administration, classified documents that detailed the history of US decision-making on Vietnam.

Pop some popcorn and tune in Sunday night.

 

One response to “Playboy president seeks to profit from porn star – and more!

  1. For Sure Not Tom

    Prior restraint is the same argument the NRA uses for taking guns away from bad people before they do something bad.

    Karma is real, people.

    And before anyone says “poor Melania”, let’s remember that she knew who she was marrying, that Trump “imported” her illegally into the country, and that she used “chain migration” to get her parents into the US.

    She sold her soul a long time ago.

    I don’t usually watch 60 Minutes, they ask leading questions and feed the interviewee answers, but I’ll be there Sunday night.

    Trump only cares about ratings, let’s give him some, and then let’s remind every fake Christian out there what they said about Hillary for the last 20 years.