Porn star seeks to re­turn $130K to end hush deal

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NATIONAL REPORT - By Jim Ruten­berg

LOS AN­GE­LES >> The porno­graphic film ac­tress who says she had an af­fair with Pres­i­dent Don­ald

Trump of­fered Mon­day to re­turn $130,000 she re­ceived from Trump’s per­sonal at­tor­ney in 2016 for agree­ing not to dis­cuss the al­leged re­la­tion­ship.

In ex­change, the ac­tress, Stephanie Clif­ford, seeks an end to her deal to keep quiet about what she says was an af­fair with Trump that started in 2006 and lasted for sev­eral months.

In the let­ter, which was sent to Trump’s per­sonal at­tor­ney, Michael Co­hen, early Mon­day, Clif­ford’s at­tor­ney, Michael Ave­natti, wrote that Clif­ford would wire the money into an ac­count of Trump’s choos­ing by Fri­day.

Ave­natti set a dead­line of noon to­day for Co­hen to an­swer the of­fer from Clif­ford, known pro­fes­sion­ally as Stormy Daniels.

Un­der the terms of the deal de­tailed in the let­ter, the con­tract en­sur­ing Clif­ford’s si­lence would be “deemed null and void” once she re­turned the sum called for in her orig­i­nal con­tract.

Un­der Ave­natti’s of­fer, Clif­ford would then be al­lowed to “(a) speak openly and freely about her prior re­la­tion­ship with the Pres­i­dent and the at­tempts to si­lence her and (b) use and pub­lish any text mes­sages, pho­tos and/or videos re­lat­ing to the Pres­i­dent that she may have in her pos­ses­sion, all without fear of ret­ri­bu­tion and/or le­gal li­a­bil­ity for dam­ages.”

The let­ter also seeks an agree­ment that nei­ther Trump nor the shell com­pany that Co­hen used to pay Clif­ford, which he rep­re­sents as a party to their Oc­to­ber 2016 deal, would move to block the broad­cast of an in­ter­view that Clif­ford taped with

“60 Min­utes” last week.

“As we have al­ways said, this is about a search for the truth and the abil­ity of Ms. Clif­ford to tell the Amer­i­can peo­ple what re­ally hap­pened so they can make their own de­ter­mi­na­tion,” Ave­natti said in a state­ment.

The of­fer puts the pres­i­dent and Co­hen — who deny that Trump had an af­fair with Clif­ford — in a chal­leng­ing po­si­tion.

If they agree to Ave­natti’s terms, Clif­ford can speak openly about not only the sex­ual re­la­tion­ship she claims to have had with Trump shortly af­ter his wife, Me­la­nia, gave birth to the cou­ple’s son, Bar­ron, but also about what she de­scribes as an ef­fort to si­lence her with “hush money.”

The money, which Co­hen has said came from his own per­sonal funds, is the sub­ject of com­plaints lodged by the group Com­mon Cause with the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion and Jus­tice Depart­ment. Com­mon Cause ar­gues that the pay­ment vi­o­lated cam­paign fi­nance laws.

New York state’s pro­fes­sional stan­dards for lawyers re­quire that they take set­tle­ment of­fers di­rectly to their clients. That means Co­hen is un­der a le­gal obli­ga­tion to share the pro­posed deal with Trump, who has kept his dis­tance from the mat­ter.

If they re­ject the of­fer, they could be seen as ac­knowl­edg­ing the ex­is­tence of an ef­fort to keep Clif­ford silent about an af­fair that Co­hen and the pres­i­dent say did not hap­pen.

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