On Thursday, Donald Trump denied any knowledge of a large payment made by his personal lawyer to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016. Now Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, tells TheWrap that Trump’s denial has given her lawsuit against Trump an unexpected boost.
Just days before the 2016 election, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her signing a non-disclosure agreement about an affair she says she had with Trump a decade earlier. Now she is suing to nullify that agreement, and Avenatti says Trump’s denial has undermined his own defense.
“You can’t have a binding agreement if you claim that you never knew about it,” Avenatti told TheWrap Thursday.
On Twitter, Avenatti celebrated Trump’s denial more openly. “Good (actually GREAT) things come to those who wait!!! The strength of our case just went up exponentially,” he tweeted. “You can’t have an agreement when one party claims to know nothing about it. #nodiscipline #thanksforplaying #basta”
Asked by reporters Thursday afternoon if he knew about the payment, Trump said “no,” and referred reporters to Cohen. “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen,” Trump said. “Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael.”
The president added that he didn’t know where the money came from, and denied he set up a fund for Cohen to draw from in making the payment. The comments mark Trump’s first public acknowledgement of the scandal, though he has consistently denied any affair through White House spokespersons.
Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.