Trump’s lawyers say the deal that paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet was invalid and they won’t sue her for breaking it.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex once with Trump in 2006 and carried on a friendship with him for about a year.
She sued Trump and his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who negotiated the deal, so she could speak publicly about the sexual tryst without fear of reprisal. Cohen had threatened to sue her for $20 million.
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Daniels said the agreement should be invalidated because Cohen signed it, but Trump did not do so.
Trump’s attorney said the president doesn’t dispute Daniels’ assertion that the contract isn’t valid and never considered himself as a party to the agreement.
While Trump and Cohen want the court to toss out the litigation as moot because they concede the deal was invalid, Daniels’ lawyer wants to keep the litigation alive.
Attorney Michael Avenatti, who has frequently and aggressively criticized Trump in the news and has said he’s considering challenging him in the 2020 presidential race, wants to take testimony from Trump about whether the deal was inked to silence Daniels while he was running for president.
Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for arranging payments to both Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election.
Essential Consultants, the company Cohen set up to make the payment to Daniels, wants Daniels to return her $130,000 payment. Avenatti wants the defendants to pay his legal fees.
Trump is also seeking to toss out a defamation claim Daniels made against him for suggesting she made up a story about being threatened to keep quiet about her relationship by a stranger in 2011.