A lawyer for former adult star Stormy Daniels filed a motion Wednesday in federal court seeking to depose both President Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen over a $130,000 payment made to Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election.
Daniels has publicly claimed a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump and said Cohen orchestrated a payment to keep her quiet during the election. The White House has denied her claims.
At issue is whether the non-disclosure agreement that was signed by Daniels – but not by Trump – is valid.
If successful, it would be the first deposition of a sitting president since President Bill Clinton in 1998 had to answer questions about his encounter with Paula Jones.
Attorney Michael Avenatti’s documents were filed in U.S. District Court in California.
Avenatti wants to question Trump and Cohen for “no more than two hours.” In the filing, he says the depositions are needed to establish if Trump knew about the payment, which he refers to as a “hush agreement,” and if he consented to it.
In a statement to CBS, Cohen’s attorney David Schwartz called the filing a “reckless use of the legal system in order to continue to inflate Michael Avenatti’s deflated ego and keep himself relevant.”
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, detailed her alleged 2006 tryst with Trump in a widely watched interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday. She said she’d slept with him once, shortly after Trump’s wife, Melania, gave birth to the president’s youngest son.
She also said that a man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 when she was with her infant daughter, and threatened her with physical harm if she went public with her story.
The interview prompted a new flurry of legal action, with a lawyer for Cohen demanding that Daniels publicly apologize to his client for suggesting he was involved in her intimidation. Daniels responded by filing a revised federal lawsuit accusing Cohen of defamation.
Cohen has said he paid the $130,000 out of his own pocket and that neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction. Avenatti has argued that the “hush agreement” Daniels signed in October 2016 is invalid because it was not signed by Trump.
The judge in the case is S. James Otero, a George W. Bush appointee. A hearing is set for April 30.
Fox News’ Ross Lee and The Associated Press contributed to this report.