President Donald Trump said he won’t seek to enforce a $130,000 hush agreement with adult film star Stormy Daniels that was set up before the election. The president’s attorneys said in a court filing that Trump does not think the agreement is valid and will not go forward with threats to sue her for breaking the deal.
The move came mere hours after a lawyer for the shell company Trump’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, used to seal the deal agreed to throw out the agreement. The company, Essential Consultants, asked Daniels to give back the $130,000 she was paid to stay silent about an alleged affair she claims to have had with Trump in 2006. And the company also said it would no longer pursue an earlier threat to file a lawsuit against Daniels after Cohen had said she could be on the hook for $20 million for violating the deal.
Although the developments mean Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, could soon be able to talk freely about the alleged affair, it also would likely be the end of any efforts to force the president to give sworn testimony. “I have been practicing law for nearly 20 yrs,” Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, wrote on Twitter. “Never before have I seen a defendant so frightened to be deposed as Donald Trump, especially for a guy that talks so tough. He is desperate and doing all he can to avoid having to answer my questions. He is all hat and no cattle.”
Avenatti says he doesn’t have to accept the offer and insists he won’t settle the case without first deposing Trump and Cohen. “We are tired of the constant delays and games being played,” he said. “We want these depositions as soon as possible.” Avenatti claims he has other ways to pursue a possible deposition from the president. “This is just one aspect and one claim of many we’ve filed,” Avenatti saidç.
One more thing
If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.Join Slate Plus