The deal that paid $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to buy her silence about an alleged affair with President Trump was never valid or, if it was, should be immediately rescinded, Trump's lawyers argued in court filings Saturday.
If a judge agrees, Daniels will no longer be bound to silence, but her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, would likely be unable to compel Trump to give sworn testimony as to what he knew about the deal and when. Saturday's filing also drops the $20 million in damages Trump lawyers once claimed Daniels could owe for breaking the deal but requests the $130,000 be repaid.
Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, who arranged the $130,000 payment, has pleaded guilty to eight counts of financial crimes. One of those counts, "excessive campaign contribution," refers to the payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, which Cohen said he made "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office."
"I have been practicing law for nearly 20 yrs," Avenatti tweeted after news of the filing broke. "Never before have I seen a defendant so frightened to be deposed as Donald Trump, especially for a guy that talks so tough. He is desperate and doing all he can to avoid having to answer my questions. He is all hat and no cattle."