(Bloomberg) -- Adult film star Stormy Daniels sued President Donald Trump for defamation, saying he lied when he wrote on Twitter that her claim of having been threatened was a “total con job.”
Daniels is already embroiled in litigation with the president and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, over a 2016 deal in which she agreed to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006. Daniels got $130,000 from Cohen and sued to get out of the agreement.
She claimed in interviews that in 2011, after she agreed to cooperate with a magazine about an article, she was threatened in a Las Vegas parking lot by a man to keep quiet about her tryst with Trump. Daniels’s lawyer released a composite sketch of the man on April 17.
Trump dismissed the claim in an April 18 Twitter posting: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!"
In her lawsuit, Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, says Trump’s statement in effect accuses her of committing a crime under New York law by saying she falsely accused an individual of committing a crime against her.
“Mr. Trump used his national and international audience of millions of people to make a false factual statement to denigrate and attack Ms. Clifford,” according to her claim.
Trump has about 51.4 million followers on Twitter.
Daniels is seeking more than $75,000 in damages, saying she has been exposed to death threats and had to hire bodyguards to ensure her safety.
Representatives for the Trump administration didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Daniels said her ex-husband approached In Touch magazine, without her approval, about her relationship with Trump. She said she agreed to help with the article "only after being told the magazine was going to be running the story with or without her cooperation."
She said she was then approached by the man in Las Vegas, who looked at Daniels’s infant daughter and said “it’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.” Daniels said she didn’t report the incident to police.
Daniels claims Cohen had the In Touch story killed, using threats and intimidation.
Since very few people knew about the possible magazine story, Daniels said it’s reasonable to infer that the person who threatened her “could have only been acting directly or indirectly on behalf of Mr. Trump and/or Mr. Cohen.”
The case is Clifford v. Trump, 1:18-cv-03842, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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