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Judge rejects Stormy Daniels' request to question Trump

Adult film star had also hoped to fast-track trial for this summer

Reuters

March 29, 2018

A judge has denied a request from Stormy Daniels' lawyer to depose U.S. President Donald Trump in her lawsuit to end her agreement to remain silent about an alleged sexual encounter in 2006. (Matt Sayles, Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

A federal judge has rejected adult film star Stormy Daniels' request for permission to question Donald Trump and schedule a trial soon in her lawsuit to end her agreement to remain silent about her alleged sexual encounter in 2006 with the U.S. president.

U.S. District Judge S. James Otero in Los Angeles said on Thursday that the request by Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to depose Trump and his personal lawyer Michael Cohen was premature because they had yet to formally request that she arbitrate her claims.

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The judge said the defendants' eventual response might address some open issues, limiting the need to gather evidence. Daniels had sought a trial as soon as this summer.

Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Daniels, tweeted that the order does "not bode well for the defendants" and suggested "that there is a strong likelihood that the Court will ultimately agree with our requests for discovery and a trial."

Cohen and his lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Daniels wants to end an agreement from October 2016, the month before Trump was elected president, under which she received $130,000 US in what she called hush money to keep quiet about a relationship she claimed to have begun with Trump in 2006.

According to Daniels, the agreement is void because Trump never signed it, and the $130,000 payment amounted to an illegal campaign contribution.

The White House has denied that Trump had sex with Daniels.

Avenatti has said he would need no more than two hours each to question Trump and Cohen.

Daniels on Monday added Cohen as a defendant in her lawsuit, claiming that he defamed her by suggesting she was a liar.

Cohen has said Daniels made defamatory statements about him in an interview broadcast on Sunday on CBS News' 60 Minutes.

The White House has also said that Trump has denied having what former Playboy model Karen McDougal has described as a 10-month affair with him, also starting in 2006.

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