U.S. President Donald Trump's lawyer claimed that porn actor Stephanie Clifford was liable for at least $20 million for violating a non-disclosure agreement she said prevents her from discussing an affair with the President, according to a Friday court filing.
Mr. Trump's name surfaced in one of two motions his legal team filed Friday in Los Angeles.
According to Friday's filing with the USA district court for the central district of California, Cohen now plans to force the dispute from state to federal court and into closed-door arbitration.
Until now, Mr. Trump had stayed out of the legal dispute, leaving it to Mr Cohen to publicly deny Ms Clifford's claims.
Avenatti has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles claiming Trump never signed the nondisclosure agreement, rendering it null and void.
After Trump's legal team filed its motions on Friday, Avenatti argued in a series of tweets that the president is attempting to hide "the truth from the public".
Avenatti did not provide details of the alleged threat, or say who made it, but told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that his client wants to "tell her story".
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Earlier Friday, Avenatti said Daniels had been physically threatened to remain silent.
Attorney Charles Harder - best known for representing Hulk Hogan in a successful lawsuit against Gawker, which resulted in its bankruptcy - is handling the legal case against Daniels on the president's behalf.
Cohen had already secretly obtained a temporary restraining order against Clifford from a private arbitrator.
"I don't think there has ever been in an instance in the history of the United States where you had a sitting president who undertook a personal vendetta against a private US citizen who was merely looking for an opportunity to tell her version of events", Avenatti told MSNBC Friday night. He added, "We are NOT going away and we will NOT be intimidated". That lawyer said she was working in a personal capacity and not on the company's behalf.
Daniels has alleged that she had an affair with Trump that began in 2006 and lasted several months. She is also asking to be allowed to publish text messages, photos and videos relating to the president, Avenatti said in a letter to Cohen.
In the fall of 2016, while Trump was running for president, Clifford signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $130,000, the suit says.
- Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 17, 2018How can President Donald Trump seek $20 million in damages against my client based on an agreement that he and Mr. Cohen claim Mr. Trump never was a party to and knew nothing about? New documents show a to.