White House: Trump won arbitration case against Stormy Daniels

WASHINGTON — President Trump has won an arbitration case against ex-porn star Stormy Daniels, who is fighting in court to tell her story about their alleged affair, according to the White House.

“I can share that the arbitration was won in the president’s favor, and I would refer you to the president’s outside counsel on any details beyond that,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

Reached by phone, Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti told USA TODAY: “Yeah, and he also won the popular vote.” He declined further comment.

The news of the arbitration case — and the White House’s refusal to answer most questions about the legal battle — marked the latest twists in the ongoing drama over the alleged relationship and efforts to keep it under wraps.

On Tuesday, Avenatti filed a lawsuit on Daniels’ behalf claiming that a $130,000 settlement to keep quiet about the relationship was no longer valid because Trump did not sign the document. The lawsuit marked the first time Daniels had openly admitted to having a “hush” agreement.

Cohen previously acknowledged arranging the payment to Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, but he did not disclose the purpose.

In the lawsuit, Daniels claimed she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007. Cohen and Daniels signed the agreement to secure her silence on Oct. 28, 2016, 11 days before the election.

The agreement specifies arbitration to resolve disputes, and in the lawsuit, Daniels said Cohen began “a bogus arbitration proceeding” against her last month. That arbitration case — and the restrictions it would impose on her speaking publicly —appears to have prompted Tuesday’s lawsuit.

More: Watchdogs: Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit shows Trump campaign likely broke election laws

More: Read Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against Donald Trump

In an appearance on NBC’s Today Show, Avenatti did not rule out the possibility that the ex-porn star would try to sell her story if she prevailed in court.

“She’s looking to disclose the truth about what happened,” he said.

Trump has denied the affair. On Wednesday, Sanders declined to answer most questions about the lawsuit. She said Trump had won the arbitration but also seemed to indicate that he may not have known about the settlement in the first place.

Asked whether Trump knew about the payment at the time it was made, Sanders said: “Not that I am aware of.”

Arbitration clauses are included in agreements as a way to resolve disputes without going to court. The details of the proceedings are usually kept confidential.

Contributing: Gregory Korte



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