President Trump suggested on Wednesday that the man who adult-film star Stormy Daniels says threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot is “nonexistent.”
Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, unveiled a composite sketch of the man on ABC’s “The View” on Tuesday. Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump in 2006, said the man approached her and her young daughter in 2011 after she had agreed to tell her story to a tabloid magazine and told her to leave Trump alone. According to Daniels, the man — a “lean but fit” white male in his 30s or 40s — then looked at her daughter and said, “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”
Avenatti is offering $131,000 for information leading to the man’s identification, asking the public to send tips to the email address email@example.com.
“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
It was the first time Trump addressed the Stormy scandal on Twitter.
Avenatti fired back with a reference to last week’s FBI raid on the office and hotel room of Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, who made a $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels 11 days before the 2016 presidential election.
“FBI search warrants uncovering EXISTING documents and recordings showing con job after con job pulled on REAL people and very REAL American citizens (who didn’t know it),” Avenatti wrote on Twitter, adding: “In my experience, there is nothing better in litigation than having a completely unhinged, undisciplined opponent who is prone to shooting himself in the foot. Always leads to BIGLY problems…like new claims (i.e. defamation).”
The president’s Twitter missive included a retweet that contained the composite sketch alongside an undated photo of a smiling Daniels and a man bearing some resemblance to the man in the sketch.
Shortly after the sketch was released, Twitter lit up with users mockingly posting photos of famous men who look like the alleged “thug.” Among them: Quarterback Tom Brady, retired outfielder Johnny Damon and actor Willem Dafoe.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) April 17, 2018
Appearing on CNN Tuesday night, Avenatti said that they have already gathered “a lot of leads.”
“We’ve narrowed the field to a handful of people that we believe that it may be,” Avenatti said. “But we want to make absolutely sure as to who this is before we make an announcement.”
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, filed suit against Cohen and Trump last month, seeking to void the nondisclosure agreement because it was allegedly never signed by Trump.
On CBS’s “60 Minutes” last month, Daniels spoke publicly for the first time about her alleged tryst with Trump. Daniels said she met Trump at a July 2006 golf tournament and had consensual sex with him in his hotel suite. (At the time, Trump had been married to Melania Trump for over a year; their son, Barron, was less than 5 months old.)
Years later, Daniels said, she agreed to sell her story to a sister publication of In Touch magazine for $15,000, but the story never ran. Two former employees of the magazine told CBS News that Cohen threatened to sue the publication if it ran the article. Daniels said afterward she was approached by the man in a Las Vegas parking lot.
A day after the “60 Minutes” interview aired, White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters that “the president doesn’t believe any of the claims Ms. Daniels made last night.”
When asked whether Trump believes Daniels’s claim she was threatened, Shah replied, “No, he does not.”
“He just doesn’t believe, you know, there’s nothing to corroborate her claim,” Shah said.
(Cover tile photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Heidi Gutman/ABC via AP, Michael Avenatti via AP, Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
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