Porn star's hush money suit against Trump could be tossed

January 22, 2019 - 5:13 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge appeared inclined Tuesday to toss out a lawsuit against President Donald Trump by porn actress Stormy Daniels that seeks to tear up a hush-money settlement about their alleged affair.

Trump and his former personal lawyer asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit after agreeing to rescind the settlement agreement that included a $130,000 payment to Daniels.

Judge S. James Otero did not rule in U.S. District Court, but he seemed to agree with lawyers for the president and Michael Cohen that there were no longer grounds for a lawsuit.

"It seems you've achieved ... what you sought to achieve," Otero said.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, brought the lawsuit to free herself from the agreement she signed to keep from telling her story as the 2016 presidential campaign reached its conclusion.

Cohen, who was Trump's former personal lawyer, had arranged the payment and later pleaded guilty to campaign violations after admitting the deal was struck to help Trump win.

Trump has denied the alleged 2006 affair.

Daniels had claimed the agreement was not valid because Trump's signature was not on it and the president's lawyer has said he was never party to the settlement.

Despite appearing to get what Daniels originally sought — dismissal of the agreement she disregarded long ago in speaking to news media and writing a book — her lawyer fought hard to keep the case alive.

Attorney Michael Avenatti, who once toyed with making a presidential run to take on Trump, argued the case should continue because he wanted to take sworn statements from Trump and Cohen. He plans to ask for legal fees.

Nevertheless, Avenatti declared his client the winner after the hearing.

"They admitted what we said all along," Avenatti said. "So any attempt by anyone to claim that this is not a victory for Stormy Daniels is completely bogus and nonsense and dishonest."

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