Porn star's lawyers turn up heat on President

WASHINGTON • Lawyers for Ms Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who has said she was paid to remain silent about an affair with Mr Donald Trump before he became President, have written to the Trump Organisation and two banks asking them to preserve messages, documents and financial records they say relate to that payment.

These requests come as Ms Daniels sues Mr Trump in an effort to escape the non-disclosure agreement she signed shortly before the 2016 presidential election, one of multiple ongoing legal cases involving women who say they want to speak out about the US President.

She argued that the agreement - negotiated with Mr Michael Cohen, Mr Trump's lawyer - is void because the then-Republican candidate never signed it.

In a letter to the Trump Organisation's chief legal officer last Thursday, Ms Daniels' lawyer Alan Garten argued that the company has "unmistakable links" to the lawsuit and asked the business to retain any messages Mr Cohen exchanged regarding Ms Daniels, along with banking records, account histories and text messages or e-mails that could relate to Mr Trump and Ms Daniels' alleged relationship.

Mr Michael Avenatti, another lawyer hired by Ms Daniels, said they intend to use all legal means to uncover the truth.

Last Thursday, he also sent letters to City National Bank and First Republic Bank asking them to retain records relating to the payment, including data and documents referring to the source of the US$130,000 (S$170,000) payment; any correspondence with federal investigators; information on Mr Cohen's accounts; and messages involving Mr Trump's relatives, his campaign and Mr Cohen relating to the payment.

Mr Cohen argued earlier this month that he has the right to seek at least US$20 million in damages from Ms Daniels, saying that she has violated the non-disclosure agreement 20 times.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 25, 2018, with the headline 'Porn star's lawyers turn up heat on President'. Print Edition | Subscribe