President Donald Trump’s lawyers want to squash a defamation lawsuit filed against him by the adult-film star Stormy Daniels because it “chills the president’s free speech.”
Trump’s team filed a motion in a Los Angeles court this week requests that the court dismiss the lawsuit. The president’s lawyers also claim Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, benefited financially from her “highly publicized” interactions with the president.
Clifford, who alleged that she and Trump had a sexual affair in 2006, claimed a man she did not know approached her in Las Vegas in 2011, and told her to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.
She said the man told her to “leave Trump alone” and made veiled threats at her in the presence of her infant daughter at the time.
Trump has publicly dismissed her claims, calling them “a total con job.”
“This suit is designed to chill the President’s free speech rights on matters of public opinion,” Trump’s legal team said.
“Plaintiff [Cliffords] has capitalized on her dispute with the president, embarking on a nationwide tour of adult live entertainment venues (a.k.a. strip clubs) for which she admittedly is being paid at least four times her normal appearance fee because of her public controversy with the president.”
The motion also cited her career as a porn star as a slight to her credibility.”There is nothing about Plaintiff’s career as an adult entertainer that requires a reputation for honesty,” the motion adds.
Trump and Clifford are engaged in a bitter public legal battle over claims that she was paid $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election to keep quiet about a 2006 affair she said she had with Trump.
Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty last week to violating campaign-finance law when he arranged that payment for Clifford on Trump’s behalf. As part of his plea agreement, Cohen asserted that he was instructed to make the payment to protect Trump’s candidacy.