The suit was filed nearly two weeks after Daniels, who was born Stephanie Clifford, and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, appeared on ABC’s “The View” talk show. During the appearance, they shared a sketch of a man Daniels said threatened her in 2011 after she attempted to sell a magazine a story about her relationship with Trump.
Trump shared the sketch in a tweet on April 18, writing that it showed “a nonexistent man.” He shared the image from a Twitter user that put the sketch next to a photo of Daniels and her husband, adult film star, Brendon Miller.
A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)! https://t.co/9Is7mHBFda
“Mr. Trump’s statement is false and defamatory,” the complaint filed Monday said, referencing Trump’s April 18 tweet. “Mr. Trump used his national and international audience of millions of people … to denigrate and attack Ms. Clifford. Mr. Trump knew that his false, disparaging statement would be read by people around the world, as well as widely reported, and that Ms. Clifford would be subjected to threats of violence, economic harm and reputational damage as a result.”
Daniels said last month on “60 Minutes” that she was threatened by the man, who has not been identified, a few weeks after a magazine declined to run her story about Trump. The magazine initially agreed to pay her $15,000 for the story, but dropped it after Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, threatened to sue, Daniels said.
She said the man approached her while she was in a parking lot with her infant daughter, getting ready to go to a fitness class.
“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,’” Daniels said on “60 Minutes.” “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.’ And then he was gone.”
Avenatti has offered a $100,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to the identification of the man.
“We want to get to the bottom of who this is,” Avenatti said on “The View.” “We think we know who sent him.”
$100,000 reward for information leading to the positive identification of the man that threatened Ms. Clifford in Las Vegas. Send all leads to email@example.com.
Daniels has said that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, after she met him at a celebrity golf tournament. Cohen paid her $130,000 days before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence on the alleged affair. Trump has denied any knowledge of the payment. Daniels has sued to break the non-disclosure agreement, claiming it wasn’t valid because it wasn’t signed by Trump.