In today’s episode of As The Porn Star Scandal Turns, Stephanie Clifford, better known by her nom de guerre Stormy Daniels, fights against the attempts by her spurned paramour “David Dennison,” aka Donald J. Trump, to smother the 60 Minutes interview wherein she confided her deepest, darkest secrets to correspondent Anderson Cooper.
With an interview scheduled to air on March 18th on CBS, BuzzFeed is reporting that Trump’s legal contingent is mulling petitioning the courts to prevent the interview from being aired.
“We understand from well-placed sources they are preparing to file for a legal injunction to prevent it from airing,” a person with knowledge of the legal strategy told BuzzFeed News on Saturday evening.
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The news of Cooper’s interview scoop came out on Thursday in the midst of legal wrangling over an injunction and a lawsuit that aims to determine the validity of a non-disclosure agreement drafted by Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, but never signed by Mr. Dennison, universally believed to be an alias for Donald Trump.
Michael Avenatti, Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, has gone on record as believing that the absence of Trump’s signature on the hush agreement and the fact that his lawyer has publicly discussed the terms of the document render it null and void. Avenatti has filed a lawsuit with the courts on Clifford’s behalf asking them to verify his assertion.
Of course, if Trump had signed the agreement, that fact alone would confirm the need for a contract to keep his mistress quiet, leaving the president in an extremely precarious position.
While the non-disclosure agreement reportedly contains a million dollar penalty if Ms. Clifford violates its terms, Mr. Avenatti announced yesterday that ten people have already approached him to say that they are willing to pay the penalty on her behalf.
With Clifford yet to accept the offer while her lawsuit is pending, the fact that the interview with 60 Minutes is already completed means that it may be exceedingly difficult for Trump’s legal hounds to prevent it from airing.
While Trump can seek an emergency injunction to force CBS to withhold the broadcast of the interview, legal precedent is not in his favor. Ever since the court battle over the publication of the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam War-era, the Supreme Court has not looked favorably on the practice of prior restraints on freedom of the press.
Despite the president’s willingness to attack the press at every opportunity and his calls for the implementation of draconian libel laws, the fact remains that CBS is not a party to the non-disclosure contract and can face no penalties for violating it. The network has announced that it plans to go ahead with the broadcast as scheduled next Sunday.
With Ms. Clifford sitting on multiple offers to pay any penalty if she doesn’t win her court case to have the agreement invalidated, it appears that President Trump is about to hit another stormy patch in his presidency.