Stormy Daniels is the stage name of Stephanie Clifford, an actress who says she and Donald Trump have a history together. Trump’s supporters argue that since the affair took place before he ever ran for office and is a matter of his personal life, not his political activity, it’s not relevant and shouldn’t be a matter for public discussion. However, Stormy Daniels’ attorney shared an op-ed Friday from a professor of Constitutional law who says otherwise.
Michael Avenatti is representing Stormy Daniels, who is currently involved in lawsuits with President Trump. According to NBC News, Stormy filed a lawsuit on March 6 to officially invalidate a nondisclosure agreement, which, though signed as “Stormy Daniels,” refers to the interested parties as David Dennison and Peggy Peterson, allegedly aliases for, respectively, Trump and Daniels. Verdict explains in an analysis of Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels’ legal saga that Daniels proceeded with this action because Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, sought and received a restraining order, forbidding Daniels from releasing any further information.
After Stormy filed her lawsuit, Cohen filed his own suit against Daniels, claiming $20 million in damages for Daniels’ alleged 20 violations of the same nondisclosure agreement, Deadline reports.
Avenatti is speaking openly about the cases on social media, noting that the lawsuit seems to defy Trump’s previous assertions that he knew nothing about the nondisclosure agreement and any claims that the David Dennison in Stormy’s documents is anyone other than him.
On Friday, Avenatti shared an op-ed by Laurence Tribe, who is a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, holds that institution’s highest academic honor, and has taught in the Law School for 50 years. Tribe’s new book, which focuses on presidential impeachment, is due out in May.
In his opinion piece for the Washington Post, Tribe lays out the reasons why Stormy Daniels’ story is a matter that the public should hear and care about, centering not on any notions of sexual morality but on election law and the coverup of the affair. Tribe doesn’t suggest that the details of Stormy Daniels’ alleged personal relationship with Trump need to be public knowledge, but he says that Daniels is claiming a number of illegal acts in Trump’s attempt to hide the affair. Some of these acts reportedly took place during the 2016 election campaign, including a payout that may violate campaign finance law. Further, Tribe characterizes some of Stormy’s allegations against Trump as extortion and intimidation that may have taken place after he became president and may implicate other White House staff.
Tribe admits that there is no precedent that would apply to Stormy Daniels’ and Donald Trump’s case to declare it a public matter, but maintains that the unique nature of the case is exactly why the public must hear it.
“This is no ordinary arbitration. This is the president of the United States trying to compel a U.S. citizen to submit to a private proceeding to force her silence on a matter of significant public interest.”
Stormy Daniels has echoed this opinion on her own social media pages, where she declared that no one is expected to care about her affair with Trump when he was “just a goofy reality TV star,” but that they should care about the coverup efforts.
Speaking on MSNBC, Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, said that Trump and his attorneys have “stepped in every trap we have laid so far,” appearing to indicate a certainty that the restraining order against Stormy Daniels is an error of judgment on Trump’s part.