Stormy and Donald Meet:
Approximately July 13-16, 2006 (and around the time Trump met Karen McDougal) Trump met Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford) during the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. In fact, there are reports McDougal and Trump were also intimate the same weekend. Daniels claimed they had consensual sex there. They thereafter had some an off and on relationship.
2010 Post by The Dirty:
According to people behind the blog, The Dirty, Stormy Daniels or her team leaked information about her relationship with Donald Trump.
As discussed in the below letter, Keith Davidson, as attorney for Stormy Daniels, sent a cease and desist to The Dirty, and said, “A user post to your website currently states that my client ad a sexual affair with a married man.” Davidson accused the blog of commercial misappropriation of her name.
It appears this exposure lead to an offer of exclusive story to be published by In Touch Weekly.
2011 In Touch Magazine Interview:
In 2011, Stormy Daniels spoke about the encounter with In Touch Weekly. She signed a source contract with the magazine, which said a friend and Daniels’s ex-husband corroborated her account of a 2006 tryst with Trump. She also passed a lie detector test, the magazine said. However, In Touch declined to publish the story after they called someone in the Trump organization for comment. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, purportedly threatened the magazine with a defamation lawsuit.
Cohen emailed In Touch’s general counsel, Greg Welch, threatening to sue over the story in October of 2011 — allegedly the same day Daniels’s attorney sent a similar letter to Los Angeles-based blogger Nik Richie, who first posted Daniels’s allegations to his website, The Dirty, according to emails provided by Richie.
The Keith Davidson Connection:
We are unsure where their legal relationship began. However, it is clear Keith Davidson represented Stormy Daniels as of October 11, 2011. We also know there was some duplicity of efforts in 2011, about suppressing the Stormy Daniels affair by both Davidson and Cohen.
Exploring Keith Davidson is more than a rabbit hole. From allegedly being involved with providing Hulk Hogan’s sex tapes to Gawker to representing both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, Davidson has become the go-to person when it comes to extracting money related to sex tapes or improprieties. David Houston, who represents the wrestler Hulk Hogan, described Davidson as, “He makes a living off creating misery for people, and it’s nothing to be proud of… And you certainly shouldn’t use your law degree to accomplish what amounts to, in my humble opinion, extortion.”
A lengthy investigation by The Smoking Gun revealed that Davidson—who has practiced since 2000—has also apparently engaged in the kind of activities that result in severe disciplinary sanctions, such as directing clients to lie, splitting legal fees with non-lawyers, defying a judicial injunction, and practicing law while under suspension. Read more about him here.
The Davidson / Chuck Lebella Connection:
Actor and comedian Tom Arnold accused Chuck LaBella, who worked as a producer on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” and on Trump’s Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, of possessing damning information about the President during the period he was on The Apprentice.
What does this prove? Nothing much. However, Cohen and Davidson have a pretty tight relationship and know more than most about Trump secrets.
Fast Forward to 2016:
In October 2016, a behind the scenes video recording from the show, Access Hollywood, was leaked. In the footage, Donald Trump made various lewd remarks about women.
Daniels decided that she wanted to share her experience in light of Trump’s denials. Cohen became aware of Daniels’s intentions to disclose the affair. He allegedly approached her to offer a lump-sum payment of $130,000 in exchange for her continued silence.
On or about October 17, 2016, the Trump Organization’s Cohen created Essential Consultants LLC, as a vehicle to quietly pay hush money to Daniels. Daniels did not immediately receive the money and inquired about when she would be paid. Cohen wired money from First Republic Bank to the City National Bank account of lawyer Keith Davidson, who was representing Clifford at the time. On October 26, 2016, Cohen forwarded Davidson an email from a bank official confirming he had made a deposit to his checking account. The email were sent using Cohen’s official Trump Organization email, raising questions about the source of the funds. Cohen wired the $130,000 to Davidson.
On October 28, 2016, a Confidential Settlement Agreement was executed. Throughout the document, Daniels is referred to as “Peggy Peterson” (or “PP”) and Trump is referred to as “David Dennison” (or “DD”), to allegedly minimize the odds that their true identities could be made public. Stormy Daniels signed the agreement using her real name, Stephanie Clifford. Michael Cohen signed it on behalf of Essential Consultants, “as to form.” No one signed on behalf of “DD” / Donald J. Trump.
Fast Forward to 2018:
According to her lawsuit, on January 17, 2018, In Touch finally published a story about Daniels and Trump. Cohen and Davidson immediately began contacting each other and coordinating damage control. Daniels’s new attorney, Michael Avenatti, indicated it was a sign of collusion. In the messages, Michael Cohen refers to “The wise men,” which Avenatti contends refers to Trump.
Under the NDA’s terms, Trump had the expressed right to “immediately obtain, either from the Arbitrator and/or from any other court of competent jurisdiction, an ex parte issuance of a restraining order … without advance notice to [Daniels].” Therefore, pursuant to the expressed terms of the NDA, Cohen applied for and was able to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order (2/27/18) through an arbitrator (retired Judge Jacqueline Connor), in California. The order prohibited Daniels from “disclosing or inducing, promoting, or actively inspiring anyone to disclose Confidential information” based on the terms of the Cohen/Davidson negotiated NDA. Connor allegedly issued this ruling without Daniels or her lawyer present.
Daniels filed suit against Donald Trump and Essential Consultants, asking that the nondisclosure agreement be voided so that Daniels could tell her story and confirm the affair. It is ongoing.
Using NDA’s to prohibit -and then censure- lawsuits:
A day after the lawsuit was filed, Cohen hit back. His attorney, Lawrence Rosen, fired off an email warning Clifford that she had violated the 2016 agreement and would be subject to penalties and damages if she continued to disclose information about it.
“The designated judge from the arbitration tribunal found that Ms. Clifford had violated the agreement and enjoined her from, among other things, filing this lawsuit,” Rosen said in a statement to media outlets.
Federal Judge, S. James Otero of United States District Court in California, ordered Stormy Daniels to pay Trump about $293,000 in legal fees and sanctions after her defamation suit against him was dismissed under Texas’ anti-SLAPP statute The U.S. District Court Judge James Otero found the tweet, which Daniels based the suit around, was “rhetorical hyperbole” that is protected by the First Amendment.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers requested about $389,000 in legal fees, but the judge said the number of billable hours was “excessive” and cut the amount by 25 percent to about $292,000. Writing that Ms. Daniels “is already being deterred from filing meritless defamation claims,” Judge Otero ordered her to pay $1,000 in sanctions. This was appealed.
Shortly after, Daniels publicly reprimanded her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, saying he had filed a defamation suit against President Trump against her wishes and sometimes spoke on her behalf without her consent. In a statement provided to The Daily Beast, Daniels alleged that Mr. Avenatti had also repeatedly ignored her requests for accounting information about a legal defense and safety fund that has drawn support from donors and claimed Mr. Avenatti launched another crowdfunding campaign without her knowledge, attributing words to her that she never wrote or said.
Avenatti Quit / Fired:
After the above defamation case scuffle, Daniels tweeted, “Pleased that Michael and I have sorted shit out and we know the accounting is on the up and up. We are going to kick ass together on two coasts tomorrow.”
On November 26, 2018, when Avenatti was arrested for some domestic abuse allegations, Daniels said she will be seeking new legal representation if the domestic violence allegations against her attorney Michael Avenatti are true, stating, “If the allegations turn out to be true, then I will definitely be seeking new representation, because I cannot condone or support someone who is abusive,” Daniels said during an event at the Oxford Union in Britain. Avenatti denied the allegation as “completely bogus” and said it was intended to harm his reputation.
Avenatti claims he quit and Daniels claims he was finally fired in February of 2019. On March 12, 2019, Stormy Daniels called it “adorable” that ex-lawyer Michael Avenatti said he fired her.“He knew that I was unhappy and looking for new counsel,” she told hundreds of women at The Wing, a private social club. Daniels explained that the media-savvy lawyer pulled an “I quit” so “you can’t fire me.”
Non Disclosure Agreement / Non Disparage Agreement:
The subject contracts are attached to the Complaint.
This is a complex bag of issues, made more complex by the legal wrangling of Michael Avenatti and Michael Cohen.
DECLARATORY JUDGMENT ACTION FILED BY DANIELS VERSUS TRUMP SEEKING TO INVALIDATE THE AGREEMENT (PENDING)
- Daniels v. Trump Dec Action Docket
- Daniels v. Trump Dec Action (3/6/18)(CA State Court) – Stormy seeks Court Order holding her agreement with Trump id facially invalid.
- Attaches Confidential Settlement Agreement (10/28/16).
- Attaches Exhibit to Settlement Agreement.
- Daniels v. Trump Dec Action – 1st Amended Complaint (3/26/18)(CA Fed 2217)
- Daniels v. Trump Dec Action – Joinder in Motion to Compel Arbitration (4/2/18)(CA Fed 2217)
- Daniels v. Trump Dec Action – Exhibits B-F (4/2/18)(CA Fed 2217)
- Daniels v. Trump Dec Action – Exhibits G-I (4/2/18)(CA Fed 2217)
- Daniels v. Trump Dec Action – Brent Blakely of Defendant Essential Consultants Affidavit (4/2/18)(CA Fed 2217)
DEFAMATION ACTION FILED BY DANIELS AGAINST TRUMP (DISMISSED, BUT ON APPEAL)(DANIELS SANCTIONED)
- Daniels v. Trump Docket (NY Fed Case)
- Daniels v. Trump – Docket (CA Fed Case)
- Daniels v. Trump – Original Complaint (4/30/18)(NY Fed) – Daniels sued Trump for defamation.
- Daniels v. Trump – Stipulation to Transfer Venue from NY to CA (8/8/18)
- Daniels v. Trump – Harder Affidavit re Sanctions (8/27/18)(CA Fed 6893) – Harder goes through Stormy’s history as a porn star, in interviews and Avenatti comments.
- Daniels v. Trump – Trump Motion to Strike SLAPP (8/27/18)(CA Fed 6893)
- Daniels v. Trump – Daniels Affidavit (9/3/18)(CA Fed 6893) – Trump is a threat to her safety.
- Daniels v. Trump – Objections to Harder Motion (9/3/18)(CA Fed 6893)
- Daniels v. Trump – Avenatti Response to Strike SLAPP (9/3/18)(CA Fed 6893)
- Daniels v. Trump – Daniels Response to Motion to Strike (9/3/18)(CA Fed 6893)
- Daniels v. Trump – Court Order Striking Complaint (10/15/18)(CA Fed 6893) – The Court GRANTS Defendant’s Special Motion To Strike/Dismiss. Defendant is entitled to attorney’s fees under the Texas Citizen Participation Act.
- Daniels v. Trump – Trump Motion and Brief for Fees (10/29/18)(CA Fed 6893)
- Daniels v. Trump Harder Fee Affidavit (10/29/18)(CA Fed 6893)
- Avenatti Disputes Harders Fees (11/5/18)(CA Fed 6893) – Harder fees too high.
- Daniels v. Trump – Daniels Opposition to Fees (11/5/18)(CA Fed 6893) – Avenatti objects to Trump billing five different attorneys with billing rates ranging from $307.60/hour to $841.64/hour and over $300,000 in fees.
- Daniels v. Trump – Trump’s Objections (11/12/18)(CA Fed 6893)
- Daniels v. Trump – Trump Reply re Fees (11/12/18)(CA Fed 6893)
- Daniels v. Trump – Harder Supp Fee Demand (11/12/18)(CA Fed 6893)
- Daniels v. Trump – Harder 2nd Supp Fee Affidavit (12/3/18)(CA Fed 6893)
- Daniels v. Trump – Orders on Attorneys Fees (12/11/18)(CA Fed 6893) – Orders Plaintiff to pay Defendant $293,052.33 in attorneys’ fees, costs, and sanctions. Closes Case.
- Daniels v. Trump – Harder Proposed Judgment (12/12/18)(CA Fed 6893)
DANIELS ACTION AGAINST MICHAEL COHEN AND OTHER DEFENDANTS (PENDING; REMANDED TO STATE COURT)
- Daniels v. Daniels/Cohen Docket
- Daniels v. Danielson/Cohen – Cohen Affidavit re Compel Arb (4/2/18)(CA Fed 2217)
- Daniels v/ Davidson/Cohen – Removal of State Court Action to Federal Court (6/7/18)
- Daniels v. Danielson/Cohen – EC’s Motion to Compel Arb Hearing (4/2/18)(CA Fed 2217)
- Daniels v. Danielson/Cohen – EC’s Motion to Compel Arb (4/2/18)(CA Fed 2217)
- Daniels v. Danielson/Cohen – Complaint (6/6/18)(CA State 5052)
- Daniels v. Davidson/Cohen – Davidson Crossclaim (6/7/18)(CA Fed 5052)
- Daniels v. Davidson/Cohen – Davidson Counterclaim (6/7/18)(CA Fed 5052) – Davidson sues Daniels and Avenatti.
- Daniels v. Davidson/Cohen – Removal (6/7/18)CA fed 5052)
- Daniels v. Davidson/Cohen – Court Orders Remand (8/2/18)(CA Fed 5052)