Donald Trump will not have to testify in porn star Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit, judge declares
Demand to question the president and his lawyer under oath is premature, a federal judge says
US President Donald Trump will not have to testify under oath in the lawsuit filed by porn star Stormy Daniels, a Los Angeles judge ruled on Thursday.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, wants to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 presidential election and has offered to return the US$130,000 she was paid to “set the record straight.”
Trump’s lawyers filed documents in federal court in Los Angeles earlier this month seeking to compel private arbitration in the case and argued that Daniels could owe about US$20 million for violating the agreement.
In a motion filed on Wednesday, Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, asked for a jury trial and sought sworn testimony from Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, about the payment that was made to Clifford as part of the non-disclosure agreement.
But in Thursday’s ruling, the judge thew out the requests, saying that they were premature.
Clifford argues that the agreement is legally invalid because only she and Cohen signed it, not Trump.
She has said that her relationship with Trump continued for about a year after their initial sexual encounter in 2006 - which was one year after Trump married his current wife, Melania. Their son, Barron, was born in 2006.
The White House has said Trump denies having an affair.
Cohen’s lawyer, David Schwartz, told CBS television that the filing seeking to compel Trump and Cohen’s testimony was a “reckless use of the legal system.”
Avenatti is planning to re-file his motion as soon as Trump’s lawyers formally demand an arbitration proceeding in the case, he said Thursday.