Porn actress' lawyer demands Trump business retain documents
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A lawyer for a porn actress who has said she had sex with President Donald Trump demanded Thursday that the Trump Organization preserve all of its records relating to the $130,000 she was paid as part of a nondisclosure agreement.
Citing "unmistakable links" between Trump's company and the confidentiality agreement that Stormy Daniels signed days before the 2016 presidential election, attorney Michael Avenatti said he intended to subpoena the Trump Organization for the same documents.
In his letter, Avenatti demanded they preserve all emails by Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, that mention Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, as well as any emails and text messages related to the alleged relationship. He sent similar demand letters to two banks - City National and First Republic - asking they preserve documents connected to the transaction.
Avenatti also enclosed an email showing Trump attorney Michael Cohen used his Trump Organization email address in correspondence with a representative from First Republic. In the e-mail, the representative said funds had been deposited in Cohen's account.
Cohen has denied there was ever an affair and said he paid the $130,000 out of his pocket. He has said neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Clifford and he was not reimbursed for the payment.
"We intend on using all legal means at our disposal to uncover the truth about the cover-up and what happened," Avenatti said Thursday. "When we are done, the truth will be laid bare for the American people."
Clifford filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles earlier this month seeking to invalidate the agreement so she could "set the record straight" and discuss her alleged relationship with Trump, which she said began in 2006 and continued for about a year. The lawsuit said their relationship included encounters in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and Beverly Hills, California. Trump married his current wife, Melania Trump, in 2005, and their son, Barron, was born in 2006.
Clifford has also offered to repay $130,000 she was paid for agreeing not to discuss the relationship and argued in court documents that the agreement is legally invalid because it was only signed by Clifford and Cohen, but was not signed by Trump.
The letter also charged that Cohen "attempted to interfere" with Clifford's ability to hire Avenatti as her attorney, but provided no additional details. Avenatti also noted in his letter on Thursday that Jill Martin, another Trump Organization attorney, had initiated an arbitration proceeding in Clifford's case, which the company said did in her "individual capacity."
Representatives for the Trump Organization and City National Bank did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday. A spokesman First Republic declined to comment.
Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.