President Donald Trump has requested private arbitration in the lawsuit between himself and porn star Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford). Clifford's attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted in response to what he sees as a bizarre move by the president and his lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Last month, Clifford and Avenatti filed a motion to depose Trump and Cohen, but it was denied. Avenatti believes that this "matter should be decided in an open court of law owned by the people."
Trump has remained curiously silent on this issue, although the White House maintains there was no relationship between Trump and Clifford in 2006. Clifford and Avenatti are suing Trump over a non-disclosure agreement, which they claim to be void because Trump never signed it. The agreement was signed less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential election.
Clifford and Avenatti argue that the NDA was never intended to be between Clifford and Cohen, who paid Clifford $130,000 in hush money just before the election. The money was funneled through an LLC set up by Cohen, however, the origin of the funds remains inconclusive.
Clifford and Avenatti insist that they have irrefutable proof of the affair and the president is threatening to sue Clifford for $20 million for alleged breaches of the NDA, even though he (listed as David Dennison) never signed it. They have hinted at being in possession of emails, texts, pictures, and videos.
Trump and Cohen filed a motion on Monday requesting private arbitration over the NDA, which means that an arbitrator, or mediator, would potentially determine the validity of the NDA, rather than a jury. Avenatti slammed this decision, claiming it was an overt attempt at hiding the truth from the American people. Using an arbitrator could also prevent Clifford from sharing her story, which is what she's been fighting for this entire time.
According to the Associated Press,
In Monday's court filing, Cohen said Daniels had never raised any issues with the settlement agreement or suggested it was invalid or legally unenforceable before she filed her lawsuit last month. Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, said they would oppose the motion to have the case heard in private arbitration, "hidden from the American public."
As Avenatti noted in his tweet, the motion filed by Cohen only forces more questions. Where did the $130,000 hush money come from? Did Trump know about any of this at the time the NDA was signed? And why would Cohen, as he has claimed, pay Clifford out of his own pocket?
Avenatti claims that Cohen is in danger of perjuring himself over the source of the funds.
We will soon find out if Mr. Cohen is really willing to lose his license, perjure himself, and possibly face other charges, all to hide & save Mr. Trump. As this noose tightens, reality will set in and sleepless nights will occur. Especially at 1600...
On March 25th, Clifford sat down with Anderson Cooper for an interview on 60 Minutes, in which she said the president knows she's telling the truth, and that she has the evidence to prove it.
The secret and ambiguous nature surrounding the NDA is forcing a very glaring question: if the president never had an affair, what is he trying to hide?