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Stormy Daniels sues Donald Trump for defamation

The suit concerns a tweet from the president suggesting Daniels had falsely claimed a man threatened her in 2011.

Stormy Daniels attends Michael Cohen hearing in New York on April 16.
Stormy Daniels.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

Porn actress Stormy Daniels is suing Donald Trump for defamation over comments the president made in a tweet.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is alleging Trump defamed her by suggesting she fabricated a claim that someone had threatened her in 2011 after she had agreed to an interview with a magazine about an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006.

On April 17, Daniels’s attorney released a sketch of the man who Daniels says threatened her in 2011. Daniels first claimed someone had threatened her during a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper in March. Daniels said she was with her infant daughter and headed to a fitness class when a man approached her in the parking lot.

“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,’” Daniels recounted. “And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’”

Trump remained mostly quiet about Daniels and her allegations, but he blasted the sketch in an early morning tweet on April 18. “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man,” Trump wrote. “A total con job playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”

Daniels is seeking $75,000 in damages, according to the Wall Street Journal, and claims she had to hire bodyguards and suffered damage to her reputation as a result of Trump’s online smear, which the lawsuit alleges Trump made with “reckless disregard” for the truth.

Michael Avenatti, Daniels’s attorney, called Trump’s statements “irresponsible and defamatory.”

“He is well aware of what transpired and his complicity,” he added.

This defamation suit, filed in the Southern District of New York, is separate from the lawsuit Avenatti filed in March, which claims that the nondisclosure agreement Daniels signed regarding her alleged affair with Trump in 2006 is invalid because Trump never signed it.

Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about the alleged affair days before the 2016 presidential election. The White House has denied Trump and Daniels ever had an affair. Trump had previously denied any knowledge about the payment Cohen made to Stormy Daniels until last week, when he admitted in a freewheeling Fox & Friends interview that Cohen “represented me with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal.”

Daniels’s suit over the nondisclosure agreement is temporarily on hold for 90 days, as Cohen faces more pressing legal troubles in the form of a federal criminal probe. A judge granted Cohen’s request for a delay in the civil suit after Cohen indicated he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in the civil case.

Read Daniels’s defamation suit below, or at this link:

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