President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer said former adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford could be liable for damages of at least $20 million for breaching a nondisclosure agreement that barred her from discussing an alleged extramarital affair with Mr. Trump.
The allegation came in a filing Friday in federal court in Los Angeles that accused Ms. Clifford of at least 20 violations of a 2016 contract between Ms. Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, and Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney.
Mr. Cohen paid Ms. Clifford $130,000 weeks before the 2016 presidential election in return for keeping silent about the alleged affair between her and Mr. Trump in 2006.
The contract was signed between Mr. Cohen and Ms. Clifford in October 2016. It states that she would be obligated to pay Mr. Trump directly—not Essential Consultants LLC, the limited liability company Mr. Cohen used as a conduit to pay her—for damages if she breached the contract.
Ms. Clifford sued Mr. Trump and Essential Consultants in Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier this month in an attempt to invalidate the agreement.
Her complaint asked a California judge to declare the contract “null and void” because Mr. Trump didn’t sign it. The lawsuit also alleged that Mr. Cohen breached the agreement when he publicly acknowledged the payment to Ms. Clifford in a Feb. 13 statement provided to news media.
The federal filing Friday, by a lawyer for Mr. Cohen and Essential Consultants, moved the dispute from state court to the federal court in Los Angeles. The notice didn’t provide specific instances of alleged violations.
Write to Joe Palazzolo at firstname.lastname@example.org and Michael Rothfeld at email@example.com