The porn star punks the president, seeks his deposition (Updated)

I am duly impressed by Stormy Daniel’s attorney, Michael Avenatti. He has totally outclassed the hapless Donald Trump and his shyster attorney, Michael Cohen. Avenatti is way smarter than these guys and their lawyers.

Avenatti set a litigation trap for them, and these cocky fools walked right into it. Stormy Daniels asks court to order deposition of Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen:

Stormy Daniels’s attorney is asking a federal judge in California for permission to depose President Trump and his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen about the nondisclosure agreement (NDA) the porn actress says she signed to keep quiet about her alleged affair with the president.

Under the Federal Arbitration Act, Daniel’s is entitled to litigate in court whether there is a valid enforceable agreement subject to arbitration as a preliminary question. If there is, it goes to private arbitration.

In documents filed early Wednesday morning, Michael Avenatti said he was seeking to depose Trump and Cohen for no more than two hours each to find out whether Trump was aware of the agreement and whether he consented to it.

Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681 (1997), is the landmark United States Supreme Court case which established that a sitting President of the United States has no immunity from civil law litigation in federal court, against him or her, for acts done before taking office and unrelated to the office.

Avenatti has the right to depose Trump and Cohen, who are parties to the NDA that they are suing to enforce.

Daniels alleges she had sex with Trump in 2006 after meeting him at a celebrity golf tournament, then signed the “hush agreement” in October 2016, less than two weeks before the presidential election, in exchange for a $130,000 payment. Cohen says he made the payment from his personal funds without Trump’s knowledge and without being reimbursed.

This is an admission by Cohen that he violated the Professional Rules of Conduct for attorneys, by the way. This is going to lead to a bar complaint against him.

The porn actress’s lawsuit claims the agreement was invalid because Trump never signed it. In requesting depositions, Avenatti said he also “intends to prove that the Hush Agreement did not have a lawful object or purpose.”

“Rather, the Agreement and the $130,000 payment made pursuant to the Agreement, was for the ‘purpose of influencing’ the 2016 presidential election by silencing Plaintiff from speaking openly and publicly about Mr. Trump just weeks before the 2016 election,” he wrote in a 31-page motion.

Avenatti is also seeking to issue no more than 10 document requests to Trump and Cohen “on various topics relating to the Hush Agreement.” A hearing on the matter is scheduled for April 30 before U.S. District Judge S. James Otero in the Central District of California, based in Los Angeles.

* * *

Trump and Cohen’s legal teams are seeking to force Daniels to settle the case in private arbitration, which is required under the terms of the agreement. But Avenatti argues the matter can’t be resolved “without facts and evidence, and thus discovery.” He is seeking expedited depositions and document production, and a trial within 90 days of a judicial ruling on the motion.

The $130,000 payment, Avenatti alleges, amounted to an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign that further showed the agreement was unlawful. The arbitration clause, he wrote, “plainly is designed to prevent public disclosure of an illegal campaign contribution by mandating that disputes between Plaintiff and Mr. Trump be resolved in a confidential arbitration proceeding shielded from public scrutiny.”

The motion references the U.S. Supreme Court case Clinton v. Jones, which stemmed from Arkansas state employee Paula Jones’s sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s. In that case, the high court ruled that the Constitution “does not offer a sitting President significant protections from potentially distracting civil litigation.” The landmark decision also noted previous cases in which “sitting Presidents have given depositions or testified at criminal trials.”

It is not clear to me what Trump and Cohen hope to achieve by continuing to pursue their lawsuit against Stormy Daniels. Daniels has already told her story to InTouch Weekly and to 60 Minutes for all the world to see. What facts are they still  trying to suppress?

The only thing that makes sense to me is that Daniels has more on Trump that she has not yet publicly disclosed, and it must be something damning in order for Trump and Cohen to continue to pursue this stategy to force her into private arbitration. What makes them think that she just won’t disclose it in due time? (Just what is on that disk Avenatti hinted contained evidence?)

As for Cohen’s claim for $20 million in damages — not going to happen. The court would find this an unconscionable penalty unrelated in scope to any actual damages sustained by Daniels’ disclosures.

The real purpose of the lawsuit by Trump and Cohen against Stormy Daniels is  intimidation, to chill the speech of other women with whom Trump has the same form NDA agreement.

A depostion would be the end of Trump. He can’t go two minutes without lying. And lying in a deposition is why Bill Clinton was impeached.

Oh, that’s right: IOKIYAR.

UPDATE: Avenatti got a little too excited about deposing Trump, and he jumped the gun just a bit. Hey, it happens. He will just refile after Trump and Cohen file heir motion for arbitration. Judge denies motion by Stormy Daniels’ attorney to depose Trump, Cohen:

Judge S. James Otero of the US District Court for the Central District of California denied the motion for an expedited trial and discovery process, saying Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, was “premature” in making the motion because Trump and Essential Consultants LLC, the company established by Cohen to pay Daniels the $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair between her and Trump, have not yet filed a petition to compel arbitration, which they have stated they’re going to do.

In his decision, Otero admonished the parties, writing that “instant litigation is not the most important matter on the court’s docket.” He also vacated a hearing date previously set for April 30.

Avenatti told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer later Thursday that he does not view the ruling as a setback and is intent on waiting for Trump and Cohen “to file their motion to compel arbitration” before “immediately (refiling) our motion.”

“This does not bode well for the President or Mr. Cohen, and all indications are that when this motion is heard on the merits, we’re going to get the discovery and we’re going to get the trial we’ve asked for,” Avenatti said.

The only thing that could prevent discovery is if Trump and Cohen drop their case for federal arbitration. In reality, they’ve already lost, Stormy Daniels has put her story in the public domain. Dropping their case against Daniels seems to be the only wise defensive move at this point. Trump can’t risk a deposition.

2 responses to “The porn star punks the president, seeks his deposition (Updated)

  1. For Sure Not Tom

    Porn stars and Russian spies and wife beaters and money laundering and adultery and Nazi’s and the KKK.

    A grown man who sends angry misspelled Tweets with threats and bald faced lies. War mongers running Defense and a simpleton running Education. Lawbreakers running Justice. The head of the EPA living in a condo owned by a energy lobbyist.

    A communications director sleeping her way through the campaign staff (with a married man) and through the White House staff.

    High level government employees, GOP and small government and deficit hawks all, living high on the hog, taking first class flights on the taxpayer dime. Taking their families on taxpayer funded vacations to Italy and to see an eclipse.

    A clueless leader who spends more time golfing and Tweeting than leading, who hasn’t read the Constitution he swore to protect. A “leader” who calls Roseanne to congratulate her on her ratings but never calls a mother who’s unarmed son was gunned down by police.

    A leader who fights and insults our allies and defends our enemies.

    It’s like we’re living in a Sacha Baron Cohen movie, and we’re on the wrong side of the gag.

    The GOP owns all this. The entire fucking clown car and the looming train wreck.

  2. Check and mate.