President Trump, throughout his improbable presidential campaign, pitched himself to Americans as the ultimate dealmaker. Well, now, he has an intriguing offer on the table regarding his rumored extramarital affair with a porn actress, but it appears the president has no intentions of making a deal with her. Stephanie Clifford, the adult film actress who goes by the name Stormy Daniels, has offered to return the $130,000 she was paid as part of a non-disclosure agreement so she can discuss her purported affair with President Donald Trump years ago.
Clifford’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, said in a letter to Michael Cohen, Trump’s private lawyer, that Clifford “will pay $130,000 to President Trump by wire transfer, to an account designated by the president” by this Friday if the Trump camp is willing to accept the terms.
In January, The Wall Street journal reported that Cohen had arranged the payment with Clifford one month before the 2016 election as part of an agreement that would prevent her from discussing an alleged affair with Trump. The president has not admitted any knowledge of the payment, and the White House has denied that he had a sexual encounter with Clifford.
In a lawsuit filed last week, Clifford said that the “hush agreement” was invalid because Trump had not signed it. According to the lawsuit, Clifford claims that she and Trump had a relationship between 2006 and 2007, when the president was newly married and his youngest child, Barron, was a baby.
The letter says that Clifford now hopes to return the payment so she can “speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the president and the attempts to silence her and use and publish and text messages, photos and videos relating to the president that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution or legal liability.”
The letter also requests that in exchange for the money, neither Cohen nor Trump attempt to prevent 60 Minutes from broadcasting an interview with Clifford, which is reportedly scheduled to air on March 18. According to BuzzFeed News, lawyers associated with the president are considering filing an injunction to stop the interview from being aired.
Cohen has previously taken legal measures to keep Clifford from talking to the press. Last month, he secured a restraining order against Clifford in private arbitration, which prohibits her from sharing “confidential information” about her alleged relationship with Trump. It seems unlikely that Cohen or other attorneys associated with Trump will now accept Clifford’s offer to return the $130,000, but Avenatti has said that he believes “they need to stop the bleeding.”
“Our entire democracy is built around the notion of free speech, competing ideas, competing debate,” he added, “and this situation should be no different.”
Avenatti, who has been appearing daily on practically every television news show that will have him on, showed up on Good Morning America Tuesday morning, after making the rounds Monday night on cable news, and vowed that if Cohen declines the offer on Trump’s behald, he and Daniels will not “go home.” The lawyer added that he believes no court in California or anywhere will enforce the agreement that Trump never signed. “I’m a pit bull, too,” Avenatti warned, referencing Cohen’s reputation, “and we’re not going away.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 13, 2018