Former U.S. President Donald Trump has been indicted on criminal charges in New York City related to hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The payment was allegedly made to prevent a scandal ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Who is Stormy Daniels?
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is a 44-year-old adult film actress from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has been in the adult film industry for over two decades and has appeared in and directed numerous videos.
Daniels' Alleged Relationship with Trump
Daniels claims that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, a year after he married his third wife, Melania, and over a decade before he became President. Trump has denied the relationship and stated that the payment was made to prevent "false and extortionist accusations."
According to Daniels, she was introduced to Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in July 2006. After dinner in his hotel suite, Trump allegedly asked her about herself and whether she would like to appear on his TV show "Celebrity Apprentice."
Daniels claims that Trump made advances on her, which she initially declined, but then had consensual sex with him. She also alleged that Trump called her over the following year and wanted to meet with her again in 2007 at the Beverly Hills Hotel to discuss her possible appearance on "Celebrity Apprentice."
Payment and Non-disclosure Agreement
Just days before the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Daniels signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for a $130,000 payment. The agreement stated that she would not publicly discuss her relationship with Trump. The document was signed by Keith Davidson, her lawyer at the time, and Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer and fixer.
However, in 2018, Cohen stated that he paid Daniels using his own money and was not directed to do so by Trump. Daniels then sued Trump and Cohen to have the agreement invalidated. Trump's lawyers later acknowledged that he did not sign the agreement and would not seek to enforce it. A judge dismissed her lawsuit as the matter was resolved.
In 2018, Daniels filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump in federal court after he accused her of a "con job" on Twitter. Trump's remarks were found to be protected by the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. The case was upheld on appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the matter in 2021.
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