Porn star Stormy Daniels is expanding her legal assault on President Donald Trump, filing a new lawsuit over his use of Twitter to undermine her claim that an unidentified man threatened her in a bid to keep her quiet about her "intimate relationship" with Trump about a decade ago.
Daniels' suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan Monday afternoon, alleges defamation by Trump in an April 19 tweet that suggested she fabricated her story about being approached in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 by a man who told her to "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story."
According to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, the unknown man referred to her child, saying, "That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom."
Daniels recently prepared and released a sketch of the man who approached her, but Trump's tweet ridiculed the sketch and appeared to dispute the entire episode ever occurred.
"A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it!)" Trump wrote.
The new suit, previewed by Daniel's attorney Michael Avenatti last Friday, claims Trump undercut the adult film actress's reputation by suggesting the story was fabricated.
"Mr. Trump's statement falsely attacks the veracity of Ms. Clifford's account of the threatening incident that took place in 2011. It also operates to accuse Ms. Clifford of committing a crime under New York law, as well as the law of numerous other states, in that it effectively states that Ms. Clifford falsely accused an individual of committing a crime against her when no such crime occurred," the complaint says. "Mr. Trump's statement is false and defamatory."
The suit notes that Trump's tweet was linked to another user's message suggesting that the sketch is one of Daniels' ex-husband.
Daniels claims she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 and thereafter exchanged calls and messages with him. When stories about the alleged episode began to emerge in the 2016 campaign, Trump denied her account. A White House spokesman reiterated the denial last month.
Avenatti suggested on Twitter Monday that Trump knew about the alleged threat and had some role in it.
"He is well aware of what transpired and his complicity. We fully intend on bringing it to light," the lawyer said.
Daniels is already suing Trump and his personal attorney Michael Cohen in a separate case in Los Angeles. That suit seeks to declare void what Daniels says is a "hush money" agreement under which Cohen paid her $130,000 just before the election to keep silent about her relationship with Trump and to surrender all records of her communications with the real estate mogul turned president.
A federal judge in Los Angeles agreed Friday to a request by Cohen and Trump to put that case on hold for 90 days due to an ongoing criminal investigation into Cohen's business activities. Avenatti says Daniels will likely appeal the decision to delay that case.