11:38am PT by Ashley Cullins
Stormy Daniels Asks Court to Deny Trump Lawyer's Attempt to Compel "Hush Agreement" Arbitration
Stormy Daniels doesn't want her "hush agreement" dispute with President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen moved to arbitration, and she's asking the court to deny the attorney's motion to compel.
Daniels in March sued under her legal name Stephanie Clifford, asking the court for a declaration that she isn't bound to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump because he never signed their contract.
Clifford received $130,000 as part of the settlement agreement, for which both parties used pseudonyms. She claims Trump's was "David Dennison" and hers was "Peggy Peterson."
Cohen, through his company Essential Consultants, last week asked the court to compel arbitration pursuant to a clause in the contract. He also argues the contract is binding because it required the agreement of EC "and/or" David Dennison and it was signed by EC.
Clifford's attorney Michael Avenatti in a Monday filing argues that EC has no standing to bring the motion because the arbitration clause is intended to resolve disputes between his client and Trump — and Trump hasn't filed his own motion to compel.
Trump on Thursday publicly denied knowing that Cohen paid Daniels six figures as part of a settlement, and also claimed he didn't know the reason for the October 2016 payment or where the money came from.
Avenatti argues that because Trump didn't sign the agreement, and is now denying knowledge of it, he shouldn't be able to benefit from the arbitration provision because there's no evidence he consented to the contract. (Read the full motion below.)
"Plaintiff believed, and was led to believe, that the contemplated Agreement was between herself and Mr. Trump to settle possible claims between the two of them." writes Avenatti. "To the extent that EC now seeks to seize upon the ambiguity of the use of 'and/or' to allow Mr. Trump to evade association with the contemplated Settlement Agreement, the Agreement was plainly drafted 'in such a way as to conceal from [Plaintiff] the true nature' of the document and the fact that EC either had no authority to bind Mr. Trump or that Mr. Trump was not in fact releasing any potential claims against Plaintiff."