Stormy Daniels settles suit against Michael Cohen in hush-money scandal
Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels has agreed to settle the last of three lawsuits that her former attorney Michael Avenatti filed in the scandal stemming from her alleged one-night stand with Donald Trump.
“She’s ready to move on and put these cases behind her,” said Daniels’ attorney Jason H. Tokoro.
Her last lawsuit accused Trump’s former personal counsel Michael Cohen of colluding with her own onetime attorney Keith Davidson to undercut her interests when they negotiated a $130,000 payment to keep her silent about the alleged affair.
Trump approved the payment days before his election as president in 2016, according to Cohen, who pleaded guilty last year to a campaign-finance felony for orchestrating the deal.
Lawyers for Daniels, Cohen and Davidson each signed a notice of settlement that was filed late Thursday in state Superior Court in Santa Monica.
Daniels agreed to drop her suit against Davidson with no payment by either side. Davidson, who is based in Beverly Hills, called the suit “frivolous.”
“I had no allegiance to anyone in this case except my client whom I always vigorously advocated for,” he said. “I’m glad that the injurious and libelous smear campaign against me is over.”
Davidson initially cast the lawsuit as a publicity stunt by Avenatti to divert attention from his law-firm bankruptcy and his alleged tax delinquency. Avenatti called Davidson’s claims “bogus.”
Avenatti, who replaced Davidson as Daniels’ attorney in early 2018, is now awaiting trial on federal charges of extortion, bank fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement from clients and other financial crimes.
Terms of Daniels’ tentative settlement with Cohen, who is serving a three-year prison sentence, were not disclosed. Cohen’s lawyer, Brent Blakely, did not respond to a request for comment.
The first suit Avenatti filed on Daniels’ behalf sought to void the nondisclosure agreement that kept her from speaking publicly about what she said was a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. A federal judge dismissed the case.
The second suit accused Trump of defamation for a tweet disparaging Daniels. The judge dismissed that case too, and the judge ordered her to pay the president $292,000 in legal fees.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has appealed the dismissal of the defamation case.
“Stormy is still engaged in substantive litigation related to Mr. Trump’s shameless behavior, and that of his minions,” said Clark Brewster, Daniels’ lead attorney. “Her present counsel will zealously represent her in those matters and will strive to put her interests above lawyer aggrandizement.”
Avenatti said by email that the settlement “proves I did my job.”
“If it wasn’t for my media strategy and constant pressure, Stormy’s cause would have been a 2 day story tops,” he said.
Daniels told the Daily Beast last year that Avenatti had treated her with disrespect and filed the defamation suit against her wishes. Avenatti denied the allegations. They settled their differences shortly after that, but parted ways a few months later.
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