Porn star accuses Trump's attorney of defamation

WASHINGTON • Porn star Stormy Daniels ramped up her legal battle against President Donald Trump, alleging in court that his personal attorney Michael Cohen defamed her by insinuating that she lied about an affair with Mr Trump more than a decade ago.

Ms Daniels amended her existing lawsuit against Mr Trump, adding Mr Cohen as a defendant in the pending case. The expansion of the lawsuit in a California federal court comes one day after the adult-film actress' widely watched interview on 60 Minutes, during which she said she once spanked the President with a copy of Forbes magazine bearing his face on the cover.

Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has alleged that she had a sexual relationship with Mr Trump in 2006, and signed a non-disclosure agreement shortly before the 2016 election. She says she received US$130,000 (S$170,000) for her silence.

On March 6, Ms Daniels sued Mr Trump and Essential Consultants, the limited liability company Mr Cohen set up to use as a vehicle for the US$130,000 payment, to break the agreement, alleging that it was invalid.

In response to the lawsuit, Mr Cohen said he has the right to seek as much as US$20 million from Ms Daniels for breaching the non-disclosure agreement.

Ms Daniels' amended complaint accuses Mr Cohen of defamation as well as broadens her contention that the confidentiality agreement was illegal because it lacked Mr Trump's signature.

The new complaint says the payment violated federal laws that impose limits on campaign donations and require those donations to be publicly reported.

Mr Cohen's US$130,000 payment amounted to an in-kind campaign contribution that exceeded those limits and was never reported, according to the amended complaint.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2018, with the headline 'Porn star accuses Trump's attorney of defamation'. Print Edition | Subscribe