Daniels says she was threatened to keep quiet about affair
Says she lied in January statement denying sex with Trump
Stephanie Clifford, the porn actress known as Stormy Daniels, said she had sex with Donald Trump in 2006 and was later threatened to keep quiet about it, recanting a statement denying the affair that Trump’s personal lawyer issued under her name in January.
Clifford said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that she signed the denial, after the Wall Street Journal reported she’d been paid $130,000 to remain silent a month before the 2016 election, because she believed Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, would make her “life hell in many different ways.”
“I was concerned for my family and their safety,” she said.
She said she and her young daughter were physically threatened by an unidentified man in Las Vegas in 2011 if she revealed the affair. Earlier that year, Cohen had threatened to sue In Touch magazine if it published an interview with Clifford in which she detailed the relationship, according to “60 Minutes.”
“There’s no doubt” Trump and Cohen were behind the threat, said her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, on CNN on Monday. “That’s the only place they could have come from. It did not come from someone close to her. It didn’t come from the magazine.”
Cohen and the White House haven’t responded to requests for comment.
‘Leave Trump Alone’
Clifford declined to answer questions about whether she had any text messages or videos documenting the relationship. Her attorney hinted at the existence of such evidence in a provocative Twitter post last week.
Clifford, in her first television interview discussing the alleged affair, said she signed a non-disclosure agreement drawn up by Cohen in 2016 in part because she was afraid of potential physical harm, citing the 2011 threat.
“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,’” she said, according to a transcript of the interview released by CBS. “And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone.”
In Touch published its 2011 interview with Clifford in January, including details of the alleged affair with Trump, after the Wall Street Journal revealed the $130,000 payment. Trump has denied the affair through spokespeople. The White House has so far declined to answer most questions about the alleged affair.
Cohen has said he paid Daniels out of his own pocket and wasn’t reimbursed by the Trump Organization, the president’s company, or by his campaign. He hasn’t said whether Trump personally reimbursed him.
Clifford sued in California state court to be released from the non-disclosure agreement, in part because she says Trump never signed it. Cohen and the president’s lawyers have threatened to claim as much as $20 million in damages from Clifford for violating the agreement and have sought to have the suit moved to federal court.
Clifford has offered to return the $130,000, and the advocacy group Common Cause has filed complaints with the Department of Justice and Federal Election Commission against Cohen and the president, claiming that the payment violated campaign finance law.
Clifford told interviewer Anderson Cooper that she met Trump in 2006 and agreed to have dinner in his hotel room, where the two later had sex.
In a separate interview with Cooper that aired last week on CNN, Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, said she had a 10-month affair with Trump that also began in 2006, the year Trump’s wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron. McDougal said she was in love with Trump but broke off the relationship after feeling guilty because he was married.
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