The porn actress alleging an affair with President Donald Trump is escalating her legal fight, suing the president for defamation.
Stormy Daniels filed the complaint in federal court in New York on Monday. At issue is a tweet Trump made in which he dismissed a composite sketch that Daniels says depicted a man who threatened her in 2011 to stay quiet about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump.
In the tweet earlier in April, Trump said: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
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The filing says the tweet was “false and defamatory,” arguing that Trump was speaking about Daniels and that he “knew that his false, disparaging statement would be read by people around the world, as well as widely reported.”
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages. Her attorney Michael Avenatti said Monday: “We intend on teaching Mr. Trump that you cannot simply make things up about someone and disseminate them without serious consequences.”
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of high profile legal moves from Daniels, who already is suing to be released from a non-disclosure deal she agreed to days before the 2016 election in exchange for $130,000. The payment was made by the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Critics say the series of legal moves is intended to keep her name in the news, so she can profit from a high profile, nationwide strip club tour.
Cohen asked for a delay after FBI agents raided his home and office several weeks ago. The FBI was seeking records about the nondisclosure agreement. Cohen’s attorney said in court last week that because the criminal investigation overlaps with issues in the lawsuit, his client’s right against self-incrimination could be adversely impacted because he won’t be able to respond and defend himself.
Aided by her publicity-crazed attorney, Michael Avenatti, Daniels has aggressively sought to keep her case in the public eye. Several weeks ago, she revealed a sketch on ABC’s “The View” that she said depicts the man who warned her in 2011 to stay quiet about a 2006 tryst with Trump… and it looked almost identical to her husband.
The White House says Trump did not have a sexual encounter with Daniels, and the president has denied the other allegations as well.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.