The president’s ex-mistress, adult actress, and director Stormy Daniels has amended her lawsuit against Donald Trump to add his lawyer Michael Cohen as a defendant and to level an additional allegation against the pair – that she has been defamed by claims that she did not have an affair with the president in 2006.
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Daniels also has amended the suit to claim that her non-disclosure agreement, reports The Washington Post, is invalid not only because the president never signed it but also because it “violated federal laws that impose limits on campaign donations and require those donations to be publicly reported.”
Daniels’ new claims also says that the amendment to the non-disclosure that requires private arbitration of any claim is now also invalid because “Secret arbitration would hide an allegedly illegal campaign contribution and violate ‘public policy by suppressing speech on a matter of enormous public concern,’ the complaint says.”
The new allegations are based on Cohen’s statement on Feb. 13 to the media, in which he said he used his own personal funds to pay Daniels the $130,000,” according to the amended filing by Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti.
If Trump had paid the money out of his own pocket it would have been legal, because a candidate can spend as much as that person wants to get elected, but by having it come from Cohen it becomes an in-kind political donation – which if not reported, is very illegal.
Cohen has denied Trump had an affair with Daniels and claimed on Feb. 13 the payment was not made because they did have sex but “because something isn’t true doesn’t mean it can’t cause you harm or damage…I will always protect Mr. Trump.”
Daniels is adding the defamation claim on the day after CBS aired an interview with her on “60 Minutes” that also included several experts describing how the $130,000 payment could be ruled in violation of Federal Election Commission rules on campaign donations.
A public interest group, Common Cause, has previously made the same allegation to the Federal Election Commission and to the Justice Department that Cohen’s $130,000 would violate campaign laws but now Daniels is making it an element of her case which adds pressure on Trump and Cohen.
Legal action could force Trump to be deposed under oath about what happened, open the door to disclosure of all documents and communications in the matter and more, all of which could be embarrassing to the president,
In another defamation case against Cohen, a New York State judge ruled last week that a case by another woman could proceed despite the president’s arguments.
That case was filed by Summer Zervos, who was a contestant on “The Apprentice” when Trump was the host and an executive producer. Zervos claims Trump kissed her and grabbed her in 2007 against her will while they were in the Beverly Hills Hotel.
She also claims defamation because Trump has accused her lying about the claim.
In the Zevos case, the judge cited a ruling in a case against then-President Bill Clinton by a New York Supreme Court judge who ruled in 1998 that “no one is above the law.”
That ruling helped lay the groundwork for the impeachment trial of Clinton.
The farther Daniels goes, the more Trump falls into seriously shaky legal ground.
The Daniels case isn’t about whether he is an adulterer and had sex with her while he was married, but about whether or not he and Cohen broke the law when they paid her to keep quiet less than two weeks before the 2016 election.
That is a serious charge that may also be of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who could use it to get an indictment that he could then use as leverage to get Trump and others, to tell the truth about their involvement the Russians who were interfering with the presidential election.