Reality TV star Donald Trump meets Stormy Daniels at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, California. According to Daniels, the pair spend the night together, a claim that Trump strenuously denies. At the time, Melania is at home with their fourmonth-old son, Barron.
Daniels tells In Touch magazine she’s willing to discuss her alleged sexual encounter with Trump. At the behest of the magazine, she takes a lie detector test. The magazine does not publish the interview until 2018.
Days before the presidential election, Daniels signs a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and receives a $130,000 payment that precludes her from publicly disclosing the alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. The money comes from Michael Cohen (right), Trump’s personal lawyer at the time.
The Wall Street Journal reveals the existence of the NDA. Cohen tells the paper that Trump ‘vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms Daniels’. Cohen does not address the issue of the payment, however.
Daniels files a lawsuit arguing that the NDA is invalid because Trump had not signed it. On
60 Minutes, she says she has been threatened to keep quiet, claiming that in 2011, she was approached by a man in a Las Vegas car park who told her to, ‘Leave Trump alone.’ She later releases a composite sketch of the man; Trump tweets, ‘A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job.’
Trump denies knowing about the $130,000 payment and tells reporters that he doesn’t know where the money came from or why it was paid. ‘You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney.’ Daniels sues Trump over the ‘defamatory’ tweet, saying it accuses her of ‘committing a serious crime’ – namely, falsely claiming a person threatened her.
Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and now one of Trump’s lawyers, admits to Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Trump repaid Cohen for the $130,000 paid to Daniels. Trump later confirms this through a series of tweets (right).
Daniels is arrested in a strip club in Columbus, Ohio, for allegedly touching three undercover detectives. Charges are dropped 24 hours later.
Cohen pleads guilty to eight criminal counts including tax fraud, bank fraud and campaign finance violations during the 2016 presidential election campaign, as part of a deal that includes jail time. Cohen says he paid off two women at Trump’s ‘direction’ to silence them before the election and admits that the payments were illegal. He is due to be sentenced in December.
Trump and Cohen say they don’t intend to enforce the NDA and ask Daniels to drop her lawsuit regarding its validity.
Daniels’ memoir Full Disclosure is published. Later, it’s announced that Michael Avenatti, her lawyer, has secured a deposition with Cohen on 13 December, following his sentencing. It will give Avenatti the chance to ask Cohen direct questions about what Trump knew about the NDA and the $130,000 payment. Daniels’ ‘non-existent man’ defamation lawsuit is thrown out by a federal judge. Trump tweets: ‘Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!’