WASHINGTON, March 13 — Porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump over a decade ago, offered yesterday to return the US$130,000 (RM507,390) she received in exchange for agreeing not to discuss the affair, The New York Times reported.
The newspaper said the offer to return the money was made in a letter from Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, to Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Avenatti filed a lawsuit on behalf of Daniels last week seeking to toss out the confidential settlement she signed just days before the November 2016 election.
The lawsuit alleges that Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, began an “intimate relationship” with Trump in the summer of 2006 and that it continued well into 2007.
In yesterday’s letter, Avenatti said that once Daniels returned the money the “hush agreement” would be deemed “null and void” and she could “speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the President and the attempts to silence her.”
Daniels would also be allowed to “publish any text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the President that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and legal liability for damages,” it said.
Avenatti said Daniels would wire the money into an account of Trump’s choosing by Friday, the Times said.
Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, was given until noon today to respond.
Avenatti said last week that Daniels “believes it’s important that the public learn the truth about what happened.
“I think it’s time for her to tell her story and for the public to decide who’s telling the truth,” he said.
Asked about the allegations last week, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted that Trump has denied them. “The president has denied the allegations against him,” Sanders said.
As part of the lawsuit filed with a California court seeking to declare the non-disclosure agreement null and void, Avenatti released a copy of the settlement.
It shows that Daniels received a US$130,000 payment from a company known as Essential Consultants LLC in return for her silence.
Using the pseudonyms Peggy Peterson and David Dennison, Daniels and Trump were to sign the agreement, along with Essential Consultants.
But Trump never signed it, providing the basis for Avenatti’s attempt to have it thrown out and release Daniels from her obligations.
The watchdog group Common Cause filed a federal complaint in January arguing that the payout to Daniels may have violated campaign finance rules. — AFP