Lawyers for Essential Consultants LLC, the company set up by President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen reportedly to negotiate with — and eventually pay — Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an affair she had with Trump before the 2016 election, filed a motion late Friday claiming Daniels may owe up to $20 million in damages if she speaks out on the affair.
Essential Consultants filed the claim as part of an effort to remove the case from California court to federal court, noting that Donald Trump has only minimal contacts with the state of California, and that the amount of money at issue in the lawsuit is significant. A personal attorney for Donald Trump is also expected to file in support of the motion.
Cohen and his company say that Daniels owes a million dollars for each violation of the agreement she signed just before Donald Trump was elected president. They claim that on at least 20 separate occasions, Daniels revealed information ostensibly protected by the agreement, putting her on the hook for at least $20 million, and potentially more if she keeps speaking on the subject.
Daniels' lawyer was quick to respond.
“The fact that a sitting president is pursuing over $20 million in bogus ‘damages’ against a private citizen, who is only trying to tell the public what really happened, is truly remarkable,” he told Bloomberg news. “We are not going away and we will not be intimidated by these threats.”
Cohen's attorneys would, of course, have to prove that Daniels violated the agreement 20 times — and so far, that's not entirely clear. The motion, though, could be enough to delay or deep-six Daniels' "tell-all" interview with CBS "60 Minutes," set to air next week.