A 28-page lawsuit filed Tuesday by former porn star Stormy Daniels claims to show how deeply attorney Michael Cohen was involved in crafting and enforcing a “hush agreement” aimed at silencing her from speaking about her alleged affair she had with Donald Trump.
The lawsuit filed by Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, claims that she is free to talk about her relationship with Trump because the president never signed the agreement. It also portrays Cohen as being willing to use any tactic at his disposal to make sure his client’s secret remains safe.
Cohen is mentioned 22 times in the lawsuit. Here are some of the most interesting claims:
In his effort to ensure Clifford didn’t share what she knew to the press, Cohen allegedly prepared a “hush agreement,” and came up with creative pseudonyms for the parties involved. Clifford was referred to in the contact as “Peggy Peterson” and Trump as “David Dennison.” A third party to the agreement was Essential Consulting, a Delaware firm set up allegedly by Cohen for the sole purpose of paying Daniels the hush money.
According to Clifford, after news of the settlement emerged in the press, Cohen used “intimidation and coercive tactics” to force her into signing a statement claiming these reports were false. The lawsuit details Cohen’s public statement claiming that the $130,000 paid to Daniels came from his own pocket, not from Trump or the campaign.
“Bogus” legal proceedings!
Clifford claims Cohen continued to try to coerce her into not speaking out about her affair with Trump and argued that last month he initiated a “bogus” arbitration proceeding against her without letting her now the process was taking place. “Put simply,” Clifford’s lawyers argue in the lawsuit, ”considerable steps have been taken by Mr. Cohen in the last week to silence Ms. Clifford through the use of an improper and procedurally defective arbitration proceeding hidden from public eye.”
While Cohen took the case solely on himself and sought to shield Trump from any involvement, it is implausible that Trump was not aware of Cohen’s actions aimed at silencing the matter, Clifford’s lawyers argue. They noted that attorneys are required to inform their clients about details of their cases, and therefore Cohen either “flagrantly violated” his ethical obligation as an attorney, or Trump was full aware of all negotiations regarding the hush agreement signed with the former porn star.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.