In new lawsuit, porn star says ex-lawyer was Trump's puppet - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

In new lawsuit, porn star says ex-lawyer was Trump's puppet

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By MICHAEL BALSAMO and CATHERINE LUCEY
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Porn actress Stormy Daniels says her former lawyer was a "puppet" for President Donald Trump and worked with the president's personal attorney to get her to appear on Fox News and falsely deny a sexual tryst with Trump, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Daniels, who has said she had sex with a married Trump in 2006 and is fighting to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 election, alleges her former attorney, Keith Davidson, was secretly working with Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles against Davidson and Cohen, alleges that after a tabloid story emerged in January about Daniels' relationship with Trump, the two lawyers planned for her to appear on Sean Hannity's show on Fox News and falsely deny the tryst.

Text messages attached to the lawsuit show a back-and-forth between Cohen and Davidson as they discuss scheduling the interview, which ultimately did not happen.

"I have tentatively scheduled for Hannity tonight. Call me after your trial," one of the text messages from Cohen said.

After Davidson told him Daniels couldn't make it and proposed rescheduling for the next day, Cohen insisted it had to happen that day because postponing it could lead to more attention in another news cycle.

Hours later, Cohen texted Davidson that "the wise men all believe the story is dying and don't think it's smart for her to do any interviews."

Davidson responded, "100%," and Cohen wrote back, "Thanks pal."

The lawsuit alleges that the exchange is proof Davidson and Cohen wanted to "collude" in order to have Daniels provide "a false interview and lie to the American people to serve the best interests of Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen."

The lawsuit also alleges that Cohen met with first lady Melania Trump in March to tell her Daniels would disclose the alleged 2006 tryst in a lawsuit after he was tipped off by Davidson that the adult-film star had hired another attorney.

Trump and Cohen have publicly denied Daniels' allegations that she had sex with Trump just months after Melania gave birth to their son.

"These texts show that the previous denials by Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen have been absolute lies," Daniels' current attorney, Michael Avenatti, told The Associated Press. "They've lied to the American people and they've lied to the first lady."

Representatives for Fox News and an attorney for Cohen did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

In a statement, a spokesman for Davidson said he sees the lawsuit as a "full and complete waiver of the attorney-client privilege," which will allow him to "rebut the false narrative."

"This outrageously frivolous lawsuit is yet another desperate attempt by Michael Avenatti to continue his 'publicity tour,' as well as divert attention from the recent allegations against him relating to bankruptcy proceedings and the failure to withhold millions of federal employee taxes," said Davidson's spokesman, Dave Wedge.

Last month, a federal judge in California ordered a law firm linked to Avenatti to pay $10 million to a lawyer who claimed that the firm had misstated its profits and that he was owed millions. During the court hearing, a Justice Department lawyer said Avenatti's firm also owes back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

___

Lucey reported from Washington.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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