President Donald Trump’s lawyer got a restraining order against former adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) in an attempt to stop her from speaking out about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump.
Attorney Michael Cohen secretly obtained a restraining order on Feb. 27 in private arbitration proceedings, NBC News reported. The order was meant to block Clifford from disclosing “confidential information,” per a nondisclosure agreement she’d signed back in Oct. 28, 2016, just days before the presidential election.
The 2016 nondisclosure agreement barred Clifford from sharing information about Trump or his alleged sexual partners, and detailed that Clifford’s attorney at the time would receive $130,000 for her to stay quiet.
On Tuesday, Clifford filed a lawsuit against Trump, which included the text of the nondisclosure agreement. The suit claims the nondisclosure agreement ― which it called a “hush agreement” ― was not valid, because Trump himself hadn’t signed it, though both Clifford and Cohen had.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a question about the case by saying the president has denied the allegations and by referring to the arbitration.
“Again, this case has already been won in arbitration,” Sanders added. “Anything beyond that, I would refer you to outside counsel.”
“President Trump hasn’t won anything relating to Ms. Clifford,” Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti told NBC News on Wednesday, in response to Huckabee Sanders’ comment about the arbitration.
“First of all, it does not appear as if he was even a party to the arbitration Ms. Sanders is referring to. How can you win something you’re not even a part of?” Avenatti said. “Secondly, claiming that Mr. Trump ‘won’ at arbitration when there has been no hearing, no notice to Ms. Clifford, no opportunity given to her to respond, and no decision on the merits, is completely bogus.”
On Wednesday, Cohen’s lawyer Lawrence S. Rosen told The New York Times that the arbitration barred Clifford from filing her Tuesday lawsuit.
In the suit, Clifford claims her alleged affair with Trump occurred in summer 2006 and went “well into 2007” ― after Trump married Melania Trump and their son Barron was born. The suit also refers to the Feb. 27 arbitration, calling it “bogus” and listing it as one of multiple attempts to block Clifford from discussing the alleged relationship.
“To be clear, the attempts to intimidate Ms. Clifford into silence and ‘shut her up’ in order to ‘protect Mr. Trump’ continue unabated,” the Tuesday lawsuit said. “On or about February 27, 2018, Mr. Trump’s attorney Mr. Cohen surreptitiously initiated a bogus arbitration proceeding against Ms. Clifford.”
On Wednesday, Avenatti told NBC News that earlier that day Cohen’s attorney had “further threatened [Clifford] in an attempt to prevent her from telling the truth about what really happened. We do not take kindly to these threats, nor will we be intimidated.”
HuffPost reached out to Cohen’s lawyer Rosen, but did not immediately receive a response.