(I was traveling most of yesterday and didn’t get this story up, my apologies)
The morning after 22 million Americans watched Stormy Daniels answer questions from Anderson Cooper about her 2006 sexual relationship with Donald Trump, her lawyer Michael Avenetti amended her current lawsuit against Donald Trump to include a charge of defamation against Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen.
Daniels says that Cohen defamed her when he put out a statement in February regarding the $130,000 payment he made to her just before the election, allegedly in exchange for her silence. In that statement to the media, Cohen said, “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage.”
Daniels’ lawsuit argues:
“It was reasonably understood by those who read or heard the statement that Mr. Cohen’s defamatory statement was about Ms. Clifford. Both on its face, and because of the facts and circumstances known to persons who read or heard the statement, it was reasonably understood Mr. Cohen meant to convey that Ms. Clifford is a liar, someone who should not be trusted, and that her claims about her relationship with Mr. Trump is ‘something [that] isn’t true.’ “
The amended filing also alleges that the payment from Cohen violated federal election law because it was an in-kind campaign contribution to Trump that was never reported and that exceeded federal contribution limits — an issue that has also been raised by the organization Common Cause. Cohen has denied any such wrongdoing.
Ultimately, the more serious charge here in my opinion lies in Cohen legal jeopardy through the illegal campaign contribution.
According to the FEC, which is currently understaffed, it could take more than a year to determine if the payment to Daniels from Cohen was illegal or not.
NBC News is reporting that the FEC is still closing cases from the 2015-2016 campaign cycle.