Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti filed a motion Wednesday to depose President Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen over the $130,000 hush money payment paid to the porn star weeks before the 2016 election.
‘We want the truth,’ Avenatti said Thursday on CBS This Morning. ‘We want to know the truth about what the president knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it.’
Cohen has said then-candidate Trump was unaware that his longtime lawyer was making a payment to the porn star in exchange for her signing a non-disclosure agreement to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter that occurred in 2006.
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti filed a motion to depose President Trump and his lawyer Micheal Cohen over a $130,000 payment paid to the porn star weeks before the presidential election
Michael Avenatti said Wednesday on CBS This Morning that, ‘we want to know the truth about what the president knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it’
Cohen also 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.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders answered earlier this month, ‘Not that I’m aware of,’ when asked, specifically, if Trump knew about the money.
Avenatti suggested that neither Cohen, nor Trump, was telling the truth.
‘And we’re confident, Gayle, that when we get to the bottom of this, we’re going to prove to the American people that they have been told a bucket of lies,’ Daniels’ lawyer charged.
In the motion, Avenatti states that he wants to question Trump and Cohen for ‘no more than two hours.’
He also vowed to fight it if the president tried to testify behind closed doors.
‘I can’t imagine that the public would sit for that but I mean, obviously if the judge ultimately decided that, we would adhere to it,’ the lawyer said Wednesday.
David Schwartz, Cohen’s attorney, called Avenatti’s filing a ‘reckless use of the legal system in order to continue to inflate Michael Avenatti’s deflated ego and keep himself relevant.’
On CBS This Morning, Avenatti punched back.
‘Mr. Schwartz is a hack straight out of central casting,’ the lawyer responded. ‘Next question.’
Daniels’ lawyer also took issue with a response the president’s lawyer, Charles Harder, gave when asked if the president was a party to the non-disclosure agreement.
‘We heard crickets,’ Avenatti said. ‘They don’t know – he said they don’t know yet whether Mr. Trump was a party to this agreement.’
‘How do you not know whether you’re a party to an agreement unless you’re just trying to make it up as you go along?’ the vocal lawyer argued.
If a judge rules in Daniels’ lawyer’s favor it would be the first time since 1998 that a sitting president was deposed.
President Bill Clinton gave testimony for a sexual harassment case filed by Paula Jones.
A hearing before Judge S. James Otero in the federal court’s Central District in Los Angeles is set for April 30.
As precedent, the motion notes that former President Bill Clinton was deposed while in office in 1998 during the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit.
That came after the Supreme Court ruled that a sitting president was not immune from civil litigation on something that happened before taking office and was unrelated to the office.
Jones’ case was dismissed by a judge and then appealed. The appeal was still pending when Clinton agreed to pay $850,000 to Jones to settle the case.
He did not admit wrongdoing.
Avenatti is part of a growing list of lawyers looking to question Trump. Attorneys for a former contestant on one of Trump’s “Apprentice” TV shows have said they want to depose the president as part of a defamation suit.
And the president’s legal team continues to negotiate with special counsel Robert Mueller over the scope and terms of an interview with the president
Additionally, new legal maneuvering occurred directly after Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview with Daniels aired.
Cohen’s lawyer demanded that the porn star publicly apologize for suggesting his client intimidated her, with Daniels responding by filing a revised federal lawsuit that accused Cohen of defamation.
In the interview – which brought 60 Minutes its highest ratings since the show’s 2008 post-election interview with President-elect Barack Obama and Michelle Obama – Daniels details a 2006 tryst she had with the billionaire and reality TV star.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she met the now-president shortly after Melania Trump gave birth to son Barron.
The adult film actress told Anderson Cooper she only slept with Trump once.
She also detailed an altercation that occurred in 2011 when a man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot, while she was with her infant daughter, and threatened her life.
At the time, she was about to go public with her story.
‘And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom,”‘ Daniels said.