WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that a porn actress is pulling “a total con job” by promoting an artist’s sketch of a man she says threatened her to keep silent about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump years ago.
The sketch depicts a white male in his 30s or 40s and carries a description of him as “lean but fit.” Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, told ABC’s “The View” on Tuesday that it’s the man who menaced her and her young daughter and warned her in 2011 to stay quiet about a 2006 tryst with Trump.
In an early morning tweet from his Palm Beach estate, Trump said: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!” It appeared to be the first time Trump tweeted directly about the porn actress.
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti shot back on Twitter, noting a recent FBI raid on Trump’s personal attorney’s office, saying it uncovered “EXISTING documents and recordings showing con job after con job pulled on REAL people and very REAL American citizens (who didn’t know it).”
He added that Trump was a “completely unhinged, undisciplined opponent who is prone to shooting himself in the foot.”
Avenatti has increased a $100,000 reward to $131,000 for information leading to the man’s identification. The figure could be a reference to the $130,000 that Daniels says she received from Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen just before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence. Daniels is seeking to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement.
The case took on new significance last week when FBI agents raided Cohen’s office, looking for information on topics including the payment to Daniels.
Cohen asked a federal judge in Los Angeles to delay Daniels’ case for at least 90 days after the raid and argued his rights would be violated if he was forced to give a sworn deposition. Avenatti has objected and pressed for the case to move forward. U.S. District Judge James Otero scheduled a hearing for Friday morning.
Trump answered questions about Daniels for the first time recently, saying he had no knowledge of the payment made by Cohen and didn’t know where Cohen had gotten the money. The White House has consistently said Trump denies the affair.
After Daniels first alleged on CBS’ “60 Minutes” several weeks ago that she had been threatened, a lawyer for Cohen demanded that she publicly apologize to Cohen for suggesting he was involved. Daniels responded by filing a revised federal lawsuit accusing Cohen of defamation.
By CATHERINE LUCEY
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