President Donald Trump says that the non-disclosure agreement his lawyer made with porn actress Stormy Daniels is invalid. Daniels, however, is pursuing her lawsuit for defamation.
History of the Case
Michael Cohen was Donald Trump’s lawyer during the 2016 campaign. He set up a law firm called Essential Consultants. That law firm paid Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) $130,000 to keep quiet about her one-time sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
After the election, Daniels went public with news of the affair, saying that the NDA was invalid because Trump didn’t sign it. Cohen did. Essential Consultants then threatened to sue Daniels for $20 million based on her action of breaking the NDA.
Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, and that he asked Cohen to make a deal with her. He says that he only found out about the payment after the fact.
Cohen recently pleaded guilty to using campaign funds to pay Daniels. Trump, however, maintains that he paid Cohen back for the payment out of his personal funds.
Trump Orders Lawsuit Dropped
On Saturday, Essential Consultants said they were no longer pursuing the lawsuit against Daniels. Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, said the president agrees that the NDA is invalid. He added that Trump never considered himself part of the agreement. The president and Cohen have both now asked Daniels to drop her lawsuit.
Essential Consultants also said that it would not pursue private arbitration with Daniels. They do, however, want Daniels to repay the $130,000 they gave her.
Daniels Pursuing Suit
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that he and his client will not drop their lawsuit. Besides suing to invalidate the NDA, they are suing for defamation. Avenatti has said that he wants to force Trump to give sworn testimony about his knowledge of the hush money payment.
“We are tired of the constant delays and games being played,” he said. “We want these depositions as soon as possible.”
Whether Avenatti will get the chance to demand those depositions, however, is up to the judge reviewing Harder’s filing. The judge could see that both sides are now rescinding the NDA, making it a moot point. If the judge dismisses the case, it will be much more difficult for Avenatti to get Trump to testify.