Trump's Lawyer's Lawyer Threatens Defamation Over Claims Stormy Daniels Did Not Make

from the what-an-odd-legal-strategy dept

Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that on Sunday night, porn star Stephanie Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford) did a big interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes. Much of what was in there had been previously reported, though this is the first time many of the claims came directly from Daniels herself. But there was one “big” new claim, which hadn’t previously been reported, and which is now getting lots of attention. It’s that when she first considered telling her story in 2011, someone threatened her pretty directly:

Stormy Daniels: I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. T– taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, gettin’ all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.” And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.” And then he was gone.

Anderson Cooper: You took it as a direct threat?

Stormy Daniels: Absolutely.

Stormy Daniels: I was rattled. I remember going into the workout class. And my hands are shaking so much, I was afraid I was gonna– drop her.

Anderson Cooper: Did you ever see that person again?

Stormy Daniels: No. But I– if I did, I would know it right away.

Anderson Cooper: You’d be able to– you’d be able to recognize that person?

Stormy Daniels: 100%. Even now, all these years later. If he walked in this door right now, I would instantly know.

Anderson Cooper: Did you go to the police?

Stormy Daniels: No.

Anderson Cooper: Why?

Stormy Daniels: Because I was scared.

That is the entire extent of the discussion about the threat. So here’s an interesting thing. Almost as soon as this aired, the lawyer for Trump’s main lawyer, Michael Cohen (yes, this is Trump’s lawyer’s lawyer), Brent Blakely, sent Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, a new threat letter, first posted by Maggie Haberman at the NY Times.

The threat letter is quite a read. Here’s what it says, in part:

I am writing in connection with the false and defamatory statements that you and your client, Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels, made on 60 Minutes this evening regarding Mr. Cohen, namely that he was responsible for an alleged thug who supposedly visited Ms. Clifford, while she was with her daughter, and made an alleged threat to Ms. Clifford.

In truth, Mr. Cohen had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any such person or incident and does not even believe that any such person exists, or that such incident ever occurred. You and your client’s false statements about Mr. Cohen accuse him of criminal conduct and constitute, among other claims, libel per se and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It would also appear that your statements of alleged criminal conduct are being made to obtain an advantage in a civil dispute, which is also improper.

I hereby demand that you and your client cease and desist from making any further false and defamatory statements about my client, that you immediately retract and apologize to Mr. Cohen through the national media for your defamatory statements on 60 Minutes, and make clear that you have no facts or evidence whatsoever to support your allegations that my client had anything whatsoever to do with this alleged thug.

So… uh… read the two separate quoted chunks again. Notice anything? Nowhere in the 60 Minutes piece does Daniels even come close to suggesting Cohen had anything to do with the thug. She notes she never saw the guy again, but would recognize him. She does not even mention Cohen in that entire segment.

It seems like a fairly odd legal tactic to start screaming “cease and desist” over claims that were not made about your client. Though, of course, doing so might make some people a bit more interested in investigating whether or not Cohen did have anything to do with those threats…



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Comments on “Trump's Lawyer's Lawyer Threatens Defamation Over Claims Stormy Daniels Did Not Make”

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81 Comments
Anonymoussays:

what pisses leftists off most...

Is that Trump plays the exact same game they do. Make stupid shit up and falsely label stuff.

As an independent, it his hilarious that Trump is a democrat in faux conservative clothing but uses the same rhetoric tools that democrats use. False labels, BS accusations, acting like anyone that does not agree with him are stupid and that he is smarter than you.

The sad part is watching both sides collectively lose their fucking minds. There are unfortunately not going to be enough sane people left to undo the fucktastic catastrophe that has become America and the 2-party system.

Oh well, at least the slide into hell/oblivion will be entertaining on the way down/out!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

“Whataboutism (also known as whataboutery) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument,”

I am not pro or con Trump and I am not trying to discredit anything either, therefore your accusation is out of place and likely just a show of your own ignorance.

Perhaps you should have read the link yourself before posting it, genius!

I am just laughing at two hypocrites having a go at each other. Wot mate? Got yer knickers in a wad?

James Burkhardtsays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

So, the issue is a lack of ability to pass intent in your writing. You stated that you love watching liberals loose their shit when trump uses their [liberals’] own tactics. Given that the context is an article criticizing the actions of Trump’s former lawyer, the seeming intent of your post in its entirety is to state that liberals and by extension, Techdirt, are hypocrites, and that criticism seems targeted to dismiss the concerns addressed within. That we can’t do anything, and the world is going to burn.

That is why you get tagged with whataboutism, because you are using critism of ‘liberal tactics’ to dismiss criticism of a conservative’s lawyer, adding in that the conservative is no true conservative, implying its somehow all Liberalism. Without the ability to determine your stated non partisanship by previous statement or posting history (because AC), that sounds like a hyper partisan statement.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

“That is why you get tagged with whataboutism, because you are using critism of ‘liberal tactics’ to dismiss criticism of a conservative’s lawyer,”

That is just your primitive mind jumping to conclusions I am not making, just like Donalds lawyers primitive minds jumping to the conclusions that Stormy did not make.

You guys are the same. You just get pissed of when what you do to others is done to you. That is all I am saying. I make no case to dismiss anything.

Don’t worry, I already know how hypocritical most of you think. I am just saying that you all are just like Trump. Delusions of intellectual superiority and a willingness lie about shit without any appearance of shame.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

Lie? Which lie? I stated how your comment, lacking other commentary, is presented in a way to encourage a specific response.

Moreover I hold no assertion that I am somehow itellectually superior. My girlfriend has issues understanding how others percieve her statements and actions and thinks intent is obvious to others around her and has a hard time understanding the clouding effect of emotion in others. One of the things I work on with her is giving her perspective on how other people can percieve her statements when they do not have the context of her thoughts to make sense of what she is saying.

My comments are not coming from a position of intellectual superiority. I know enough to know that there are many things I do not know, and one of them is who you are. Nor are they coming from a position of intellectual subservience for the same reason. They are from the perspective of someone trying to reach out and provide a different perspective. Not a better or superior one, just a different one.

My entire point was that, as a response to the article, your statements appear to be an attack on the article. Calling the article and arguments hypocritical suggests they are without value. Its the same reason you attack me for being hypocritical and a liar in that last paragraph, because it damages the value of my argument. at least, that is the perception.

Now you make a good point that the jump to a conclusion is similar, and as a subversive satire, it could have been masterful, in fact I thought it might have been for a moment. However, by attacking those who didn’t get it, it hurts the message. Moreover, the context is pretty distinct as well. Your writing style doesn’t lend itself to sending a clear message, and vague generic statements of wrongdoing and unclear goals make it hard to intuit how you intend your statements to be taken. Contrast with the clear wording used in the interview, to be clear that Stormy could not identify the thug, with no questions of who was behind the thug.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

Thanks for reading the article and then doing just that, again. All the while bitching about hypocripsy. You are the special kind of stupid that puts a smile on my face. The kind with the self awareness of a not particularly bright overbaked carrot.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

I do not think you guys are dumber than me.

I am just saying from my perspective, you all look just like Trump and bag on Trump for the same things you guys are doing as well.

It’s the classic okay for me, but not for thee problem that plagues humanity. It is not party specific, but it does give life to the party!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

lol, yea, I do have a rather caustic tongue. I try to work on it but a quick jab at insulting people is just too irresistible.

I think you folks need to stop trying to kill the messenger and look at the message instead.

I am not wrong, could I call people stupid a better way? Probably, but lets be honest here? No matter what is said or how it is said people are going to complain.

People have varying degrees of intelligence in varying areas, when it comes to politics, people are often stupid, mindless mob mentality people. You need to get out of that first. Then we can make progress.

Insults, Microaggressions, and ad hominem attacks are just distractions the people place TOO MUCH value on.

Mike Masnicksays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

I am just saying from my perspective, you all look just like Trump and bag on Trump for the same things you guys are doing as well.

What in this story involves us going after Trump? I’ll wait.

Can you at least admit that we write about all sorts of dumb legal threats?

And then can you admit that maybe — just maybe — it’s YOUR fucked up obsession that’s the problem? I know, I know, because you do this any time anyone criticizes the current administration, that you have to immediately attack them because previous administrations (in your mind) were just as bads. You ignore, of course (1) this story is not about Trump (2) we regularly criticized Obama as well and (3) where the fuck were you every time we criticized Obama saying "But Bush was just as bad?"

I’ve discussed these things with you before and you have a preternatural ability to have zero self-awareness of just how ridiculous you look (though I’ll note you completely disappeared from a previous thread where I debunked you insanity). Funny that.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

“What in this story involves us going after Trump? I’ll wait.”

here

“the lawyer for Trump’s main lawyer, Michael Cohen (yes, this is Trump’s lawyer’s lawyer)”

I hope you didn’t wait too long.

“Can you at least admit that we write about all sorts of dumb legal threats?”

Yes, and that is why I do come back and keep reading. I hope TD stays around for a while too! What is wrong with trying to keep you folks honest?

“And then can you admit that maybe — just maybe — it’s YOUR fucked up obsession that’s the problem?”

If you can admit the same. I think any human has to understand that their “fucked up obsession” might be a problem, but I bet you don’t have the integrity to even consider that you might be the fucked up one.

” I know, I know, because you do this any time anyone criticizes the current administration, that you have to immediately attack them because previous administrations (in your mind) were just as bads.”

That is where you are wrong. I only attack the hypocrisy, there is a clear difference between how you trash talk the left vs how you trash talk the right.

“where the fuck were you every time we criticized Obama saying “But Bush was just as bad?”

I did say these things, but I only rarely had too because most of the folks here already bagged on Bush so fucking much that I was drowned out.

“I’ve discussed these things with you before and you have a preternatural ability to have zero self-awareness of just how ridiculous you look (though I’ll note you completely disappeared from a previous thread where I debunked you insanity). Funny that.”

When it’s time to go home, I go home. I do not care how the world views me, I just do what I do. Only people like you are worried about what others think about them so you bow to peer pressure like a beta and follow the mob.

You are free to think you debunked me as much as you like, just like Trump does not care that you debunked him or that his followers care just like you don’t care when people debunk you.

Stop the hypocrisy and then you can make contact with others outside of your echo chamber.

Mike Masnicksays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

I hope you didn’t wait too long.

How is pointing out that Trump’s lawyer needs a lawyer a form of attacking Trump? I literally have no clue what you think we’re implying there. I’m just making a joke that Trump’s lawyer needs a lawyer. That’s not a statement about Trump at all.

What is wrong with trying to keep you folks honest?

Nothing. But that’s not what you do. You show up, spout ignorant stupidity, act like everyone is too fucking stupid to recognize your brilliance, and then whine like a baby every time people call you on your bullshit. That’s not keeping us honest. That’s being a teenager who thinks he’s brilliant.

If you can admit the same. I think any human has to understand that their "fucked up obsession" might be a problem, but I bet you don’t have the integrity to even consider that you might be the fucked up one.

Sure. We have fucked up obsessions. But ours don’t make us keep saying the same wrong thing over and over again. Yours does.

That is where you are wrong. I only attack the hypocrisy, there is a clear difference between how you trash talk the left vs how you trash talk the right.

I’ve long come to the conclusion that anyone who seriously says "the left" or "the right" is so full of shit that they’re not worth paying attention to. We make no distinction between one or the other because they’re meaningless. It’s "red team / blue team" idiocy, which you seem quite focused on buying into, while pretending (incorrectly) you’re above it all.

You’re the one talking about "the left" or "the right." Not us.

I did say these things, but I only rarely had too because most of the folks here already bagged on Bush so fucking much that I was drowned out.

So… you’ve just admitted that your whataboutism is pretty stupid and that you treated our criticisms of one party different than of the other party. So why aren’t you dunking on yourself for your own unequal treatment?

Only people like you are worried about what others think about them so you bow to peer pressure like a beta and follow the mob.

Dude. I’ve done this for 20 years. I don’t give two craps what you or anyone thinks about me. I’ve been mocked since before you were in kindergarten, most likely. That’s not my issue.

I call out stupid for stupid. And I’m pointing out that it fits you like a glove.

Also "a beta"? You’re a child. You do realize that anyone who uses the term "a beta" is demonstrating what a fucking tool they are?

You are free to think you debunked me as much as you like

So this is you admitting that after I proved you totally full of shit, you have no response and will continue to post the same full of shit responses? Really? That’s the road you want to take?

Coyne Tibbetssays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

You have to understand that any negative statement that includes the forbidden name will invoke instant retribution. For example, you might say:

“Trump is unlucky enough to be president of a country full of liberal morons.”

…and this would require that you immediately be crushed for disrespecting Trump.

Roger Strongsays:

Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

Is that Trump plays the exact same game they do. Make stupid shit up and falsely label stuff.

Granted, the "made up" "falsely labeled" stuff about Trump almost always comes with video or audio of him saying or doing it. Or in this case, his own lawyer confirming the affair and pay-off.

Trump’s handlers have a bugger of a time contradicting Trump’s video, audio or tweets on TV interviews, especially given that Trump will inevitably contradict them hours later. That’s just how diabolical the left is.

Trump is a democrat in faux conservative clothing

The same can be said of the entire alt-right movement and the Tea Party movement before it.

That said, he’s 100% Republican. Not just in his support, but in his positions on the issues.

But sure; go ahead. We kept hearing in the 2008 election how Republicans shouldn’t get the blame for Bush II, because "he wasn’t really a Republican anyway." You’ll say it for Trump, and you’ll eventually say it for Ted Nugent or whomever the party next declares to be paragon of Republican Conservatism next.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: what pisses leftists off most...

“The same can be said of the entire alt-right movement and the Tea Party movement before it.”

That is what tells on you.
The willingness to JUST pick on certain groups.

“All are guilty”, and to such a degree that singling any one out means hypocrisy.

“You’ll say it for Trump, and you’ll eventually say it for Ted Nugent or whomever the party next declares to be paragon of Republican Conservatism next.”

Again with the “you must be a…” lies.

I don’t like any of these people. I saw Bush coming just like I saw Obama and Trump. You assume that I agree with Ted Nugent either, sure there are some things I agree with him on, but I also agree with Obama, Bush, Trump, and even TD on as well on some things. So which team do I belong to?

Anonymoussays:

Its kinda the Trump strategy though. He couldn’t have done more to look guilty in the Mueller probe if he tried. It is the very problem we keep seeing with Trump’s handling of the Stormy Daniels claims, he is, by his actions and words inviting questions about why it is bothering him so much. Apparently he learned that behavior from Cohen.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Huh, "AC"? State one charge anywhere near Trump.

Its kinda the Trump strategy though. He couldn’t have done more to look guilty in the Mueller probe if he tried.

Sheesh. Apparently have convinced yourself that Trump is all but hanged, when Mueller had to strain to even indict a Russian clickbait site.

Aaron Walkhousesays:

Re: Re: Re: Mueller may be biding his time while building a stronger case?

?because it’s looking more and more likely there will be
a Democrat Congress and Senate just in time for Christmas.

Trump and his followers have been looking for a way to stop
Mueller’s team before then but are visibly starting to panic. ? ? ;]

Uriel-238says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: If you prefer, you can say "Democrat-led"?

Most People’s Democratic Republics (e.g. Congo, Korea, Algeria, Bangladesh) are clearly not democratic either. Or republics of the people, for that matter.

I’m pretty sure the US Republican party is not that big into republics either. The US Democratic Part is too corporate to be fairly democratic.

The Wanderersays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: If you prefer, you can say "Democrat-led"?

I actually have a fuller breakdown/analysis of the term space there, but I figured a reply like that one wasn’t really the place for it.

At minimum, there is:

“democracy” vs. “republic” (nouns: forms of government)
“democratic” vs. “republican” (adjectives: ditto, plus the associated philosophies)
“democrat” vs. “republican” (nouns: adherents of the said philosophies)
“Democratic” vs. “Republican” (adjectives: names of the USA political parties)
“Democrat” vs. “Republican” (nouns: members of the USA political parties)

Importantly, “democratic” and “Democratic”, or “republican” and “Republican”, do not at all mean the same thing.

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: tl;dr

?because it’s looking more and more likely there will be
a Democrat Congress and Senate just in time for Christmas.

One: Please don’t use "Democrat" as an adjective. That’s a right-wing dog-whistle.

Two: While there will indeed be elections in November, there won’t be a new Congress until January.

Three: The Senate is part of Congress. You mean House and Senate, not Congress and Senate.

Anonymoussays:

Have you no shame, Mike McCarthy?

The claim you highlight is unsubstantiated and unsubstantiABLE.

You simply so WISH that could find some dirt on Trump that you even overlook the main claim! You dismiss it as old news.

You’re still making innuendo based on innuendo.

AND UNFORGIVABLY FOR A “TECH BLOG”, IT’S DULL!

Roger Strongsays:

Re: Re: Have you no shame, Mike McCarthy?

The claim you highlight is unsubstantiated and unsubstantiABLE.

er, which one?

Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, has publicly confirmed the Stormy Daniels affair and payoff.

So are you talking about the unsubstantiated claim about the threat, or the unsubstantiated claim by Trump’s lawyer about the (previous) unsubstantiated claim naming him?

Anonymoussays:

The segment about the threat is sandwiched between two comments referencing Cohen, and there’s another comment later on from Daniels about the $130k payout:

Anderson Cooper: You thought that there would be some sort of legal repercussion if you didn’t sign it?

Stormy Daniels: Correct. As a matter of fact, the exact sentence used was, "They can make your life hell in many different ways."

Anderson Cooper: They being?

Stormy Daniels: I’m not exactly sure who they were. I believe it to be Michael Cohen.

So, while it doesn’t appear that Daniels connected Cohen with the threat, the flow of the 60 Minutes interview certainly seems to make that implication. Maybe Cohen’s lawyers should have sent their cease and desist to 60 Minutes’ editors instead?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It is interesting to watch as humans communicate in situations where some use context to express thoughts while others do not. In some fields, such problems have been addressed via explicit communication that is a direct attempt to leave out all ambiguity. You can see where this may be a desired attribute? A court of law maybe ….

James Burkhardtsays:

Re: Re:

The problem is that defamation requires a false statement of fact. A statement that was not broadcast. Stormy might not have had a choice in the establishment of the implication – Anderson Cooper and the producers are likely the ones that determined what questions were asked and when. She might have clarified the answer in a question edited out of the broadcast. She was not the appropriate target for this ill-advised lawsuit.

DBsays:

Have some sympathy for Cohen. He is in a tough position with very limited options.

Right now empty legal threats are the best of those options.

He, as an attorney, purported to negotiate and execute a contract. Apparently without the permission of his client. And paid, out of his own pocket. And now the client is saying that he wasn’t involved in the deal.

Certainly Cohen has enough of a contract to get into court. But that is certainly end as a disaster. Filing a complaint would immediately involve a counter-claim to hold him in court, and subsequent discovery. Well funded, extensive discovery. A plaintiff can’t really refuse discovery directly about directly relevant issue, and as a counter-claim defendant he can’t run away.

No matter how well thuggish legal destruction threats have served him in the past, Cohen has to see that he is at a dead end. Worse, he is setting himself up to actually get into a legal battle. One where the best possible outcome is immediate summary judgement against him, with no evidence released that would result in an ethic investigation.

Dr Sargentsays:

Why the "real name" tag?

Why play the “real name” game with her? She’s obviously a well-organized and eloquent speaker, and would otherwise appear a “normal person”. We don’t bother removing stage names from “regular” Hollywood people (“Carey Grant [real name: Archibald Leach] was an American actor…”). We let those folks live under their stage names, why not her? Is it important to isolate her as a sex worker for some reason?

dadtaxisays:

Response:

“You are demanding that my client “cease and desist” huh?
Well she’s not, so what are you gonna do about that? You could sue of course, but the first thing I’m gonna ask for is discovery on Mr. Cohen.”

“Wonder how your client will react when you put that to him? – Lets play the game and find out”

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