Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen filed a claim Friday in federal court alleging that porn star Stormy Daniels violated the terms of her non-disclosure agreement with the president. In Cohen’s filing, the lawyer said he will seek $20 million from Daniels, or $1 million per breach of the “hush agreement” she signed in 2016.
Cohen’s filing also sought to move Daniels’ March 6th lawsuit from a California state court to a federal court, where judges are appointed by the president as opposed to voted in by state residents, Bloomberg reported.
Cohen’s Essential Consultants, which entered Friday’s filings, stated that lawyer Charles Harder – who previously represented Melania Trump in her lawsuit against the Daily Mail and Hulk Hogan in the wrestler’s legal battle against Gawker – had signed onto the lawsuit.
Additionally, the filing stated that Trump would eventually join Essential Consultants’ (EC) legal action against Daniels. “Mr. Trump intends to join in EC’s anticipated Petition to Compel Arbitration under the Arbitration Agreement,” the filing noted.
In a series of tweets following Cohen’s filing Friday, Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti wrote, “The filing today is yet another bullying tactic from the president and Mr. Cohen. They are now attempting to remove this case to federal [court] in order to increase their chances that the matter will be decided in private arbitration, thus hiding the truth from the public. The fact that a sitting president is pursuing over $20M in bogus ‘damages’ against a private citizen, who is only trying to tell the public what really happened, is remarkable. Likely unprecedented in our history. We are NOT going away and we will NOT be intimidated.”
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Avenatti added, “How can President Donald Trump seek $20 million in damages against my client based on an agreement that he and Mr. Cohen claim Mr. Trump never was a party to and knew nothing about,” calling Cohen’s filing “sloppy” and “not well thought out.” Earlier in the day, Avenatti told MSNBC that Daniels had been physically threatened over the Trump situation but did not elaborate on the threats.
It remains unclear whether Cohen’s filing will impact the scheduled March 25th airing of Daniels’ interview with 60 Minutes.