President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen is hoping to scuttle a nondisclosure agreement with adult film star Stormy Daniels and get his money back. Cohen and his shell company Essential Consultants are seeking to avoid further litigation over the deal, which Cohen said was negotiated on Trump’s behalf so Daniels wouldn’t disclose their alleged affair during the presidential election, CNN was the first to report.
But Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, blasted the move as part of a strategy to keep Trump and Cohen from being deposed in the case and possibly be forced to reveal other stealth payments meant to quiet other damaging information.
“What they’re trying to do is they don’t want me to get a chance to depose Michael Cohen and Donald Trump,” Avenatti said on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” Friday night. He called it a “Hail Mary to try and avoid that, that’s my first guess.”
A lawyer for Cohen stated in a legal status report filed Friday in Los Angeles federal court that his client “seeks the rescission of the Confidential Settlement Agreement dated October 28, 2016,” The Washington Post reported. The filing included Cohen’s promise not to sue Daniels for any contract breach. He also reserved the right to seek the return of the money.
Attorney Brent Blakely said in statement to CNN that the filing “effectively put an end to the lawsuits,” adding that the “rescission ... will result in Ms. Clifford returning to Essential Consultants the $130,000 she received in consideration, as required by California law.”
Avenatti tweeted that he and his client will “never” settle their pending cases against Cohen and his company “absent full disclosure.” He accused Cohen of still trying to protect Trump.
He also told The Washington Post that the offer is “going nowhere” because Trump “hasn’t offered anything. He would have to agree for the NDA to be void,” he claimed.
Both sides are scheduled to be in a Los Angeles court Monday for a conference on the case.
Cohen pleaded guilty last month to eight felonies, including illegally interfering in the 2016 election. He said he followed Trump’s orders to arrange hush-money payments before the 2016 election to quiet two women about their relationship with Trump.
Supporters of Daniels turned out for her on Friday before an appearance at a “gentlemen’s club” in Salisbury, Massachusetts. “She’s an unlikely hero, but a superhero to me” for speaking out, said one fan. Check out the video above.