Somebody appears to be playing hardball in the ongoing saga of Stormygate. This time it’s President Trump’s own attorney, Michael Cohen. Despite previous claims that none of this porn star affair business actually has anything directly to do with the President, Cohen is now saying that Stormy Daniels violated an NDA as many as twenty times. And due to a clause in the agreement Daniels previously signed, each incident could have left her liable for one million dollars each time she opened her mouth. (Washington Post)
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, claims he has the right to seek at least $20 million in damages from porn star Stormy Daniels for allegedly violating a nondisclosure agreement 20 times.
A lawyer for Cohen’s limited liability corporation, Essential Consultants, made the claim in papers filed in federal court Friday.
Cohen also intends to force the dispute with Daniels, who alleges she was secretly paid to keep quiet about an affair with the president, out of the public eye and back into private arbitration, according to the court filing.
I’ve mostly taken a pass on commenting on this story, primarily because the entire thing is so distasteful. But with CBS deciding to run a 60 Minutes interview they did with the adult actress next weekend (a curiously long time to wait) it certainly sounds as if the story may be about to blow up. It’s unclear precisely how much actual trouble this could cause for the White House, but none of the possible outcomes look particularly rosy.
Daniels and her attorney are talking to anyone who will listen and claiming that Trump’s team is trying to “silence her.” It’s hard to imagine a better tactic to back up her claim than suddenly showing up and threatening to hit her for twenty million for violating a nondisclosure agreement covering something which they’re supposedly claiming never happened. If you’re actually pushing the story that this was all fictional, it seems as if threatening a defamation lawsuit would be more effective. Of course, unless she can produce some really stomach-churning video or still image “evidence” we may never know.
It’s not as if Daniels has covered herself in glory in terms of trying to play the role of whistleblower and aggrieved citizen seeking to enlighten the public. She’s given several interviews where she’s talked about the ongoing success of her new “Make America Horny Again” tour and a possible book deal that’s in the works. She’s even had to turn down several jobs promoting or producing new adult films because of how busy she is. I have zero objection to Daniels making a living like any good capitalist and charging what the market will bear, but that sort of self-promotion is bound to undermine her credibility in the eyes of at least some observers.
In the end, what’s the real danger to Donald Trump here? Even if she can prove her claims (and I’m certainly not ruling out the possibility) it’s tough to see what possible laws Trump might have broken which could further endanger his presidency. Sure, it would be embarrassing to a shocking degree and the First Lady might wind up moving back to New York, but since when has a bit of embarrassment slowed Trump’s roll?
At this point, if I were one of the inside circle folks advising the President, I’d be pushing to have him just rip the bandage off and blow the story up. Stormy Daniels isn’t going away and she’s the favorite new shiny thing for the media to play with. Whatever she has is going to wind up in the public domain sooner or later, so Trump should really just get it over with and dare her to put all her cards on the table. Once it’s done he can simply send out a barrage of tweets and then move on to the next crapstorm of the news cycle.