Stormy Daniels’ old attorney plotted with President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to get her on the Sean Hannity Show and deny her affair with the president, according to a new lawsuit filed Wednesday.
The porn actress is suing Keith Davidson, her former lawyer and peddler of Hollywood dirt and sex tapes, alleging he breached his fiduciary duty by secretly collaborating with Cohen and disclosing information about her legal strategy.
Earlier this year, Daniels became a household name after filing a lawsuit against Cohen and Trump to invalidate a “hush agreement” she signed weeks before the 2016 election. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence on her alleged 2006 romp with Trump, then a real-estate mogul and reality TV star.
Daniels’ legal filings reveal how Davidson, the counselor who inked her non-disclosure agreement, supposedly enjoyed a chummy relationship with Cohen behind the scenes.
Another allegation in the lawsuit: Cohen held a meeting with First Lady Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago in March to discredit Daniels.
Davidson’s spokesman called the lawsuit “outrageously frivolous” and said it was an attempt by Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, to distract from negative press about his former law firm, which was slapped with a $10-million bankruptcy settlement.
“That said, Attorney Davidson is very happy that [Avenatti] has filed this lawsuit because [Davidson] strongly believes that the filing constitutes a full and complete waiver of the attorney-client privilege,” said the spokesman, Dave Wedge, in a statement to The Daily Beast.
Wedge appeared to make lemonade out of legal lemons.
“Thankfully, the truth can now finally come out to rebut the false narrative about Attorney Davidson that Mr. Avenatti has been pushing in his more than 175 television appearances and countless other media interviews,” Wedge continued. “Attorney Davidson believes that the American people deserve to know the entire truth—and they soon will. This lawsuit has made that happen.”
For his part, Avenatti said that text messages discussing a potential Hannity interview only bolster his client’s claim of a cover-up.
“These text messages show that the prior denials by Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen relating to what Mr. Trump knew and about the honesty of my client were absolute lies,” Avenatti said in a statement. “There was a significant cover-up here as part of an attempt to deceive the American people and Mrs. Trump and we intend on getting to the bottom of it.”
In January, Davidson and Cohen tried to do damage control after In Touch magazine ran a steamy interview with Daniels on bedding Trump, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and first reported by NBC News.
“Call me,” Cohen texted Davidson on Jan. 17, after learning of the scoop. The lawyers—who were supposed to be opposing counsel—“hatched a plan” to get Daniels on Fox News with Sean Hannity to decry the story’s accuracy, the complaint says.
Two hours later, at 2:32 p.m., Cohen messaged Davidson again. “I have her tentatively scheduled for Hannity tonight. Call me after your trial,” Cohen wrote. (Cohen, who’s facing a federal probe over his business dealings and the Daniels NDA, admitted last month that Hannity is one of three recent clients. Another is GOP donor Elliott Broidy.)
Cohen scheduled Daniels—born Stephanie Clifford—to appear on Hannity’s show “only after consultation with Mr. Trump,” the complaint says.
“She cannot don’t [sic] today. She is flying to LA tomorrow. I’m trying to get her to commit for tomorrow,” Davidson replied.
But Cohen, in a panic, sent a cascade of texts to persuade Daniels, “with the assistance of Mr. Hannity, to lie to the American public about her relationship with Mr. Trump via the Fox News broadcast,” her complaint states.
“Can you call me please,” Cohen wrote at 3:25 p.m. He followed up with “Please call me” about 20 minutes later. “Anything?” Cohen added.
“Still trying,” Davidson replied.
“This is no good,” Cohen wrote. “We need her as by doing tomorrow you just create another news cycle instead of putting an end to this one.”
“C’mon!” Cohen desperately texted at 5:01 p.m.
Yet around 5:30 p.m., Cohen changed his tune.
“Let’s forget tonight,” Cohen wrote. “They would rather tomorrow so they can promote the heck out of the show.” According to the lawsuit, “They” refers to Fox News and the Trump administration.
By 8 p.m., Cohen informed Davidson that the porn star’s appearance on Hannity was unnecessary. “Keith, The wise men all believe the story is dying and don’t think it’s smart for her to do any interviews,” Cohen texted. “Let her do her thing but no interviews at all with anyone.” (In her lawsuit, Daniels says the “wise men” include Trump.)
Davidson agreed, answering, “100%”
“Thanks pal,” Cohen replied. “Just no interviews or statements unless through you.”
“Got it,” Davidson wrote.
These texts show Davidson was set to arrange a media appearance not for Daniels’ benefit but for the benefit of Trump, the lawsuit alleges.
“Indeed, once Mr. Cohen concluded that it was no longer in his own best interest, or those of his client… Mr. Cohen called off the appearance entirely and Mr. Davidson agreed without hesitation,” her lawsuit states.
Davidson wasn’t acting as Daniels’ lawyer; he instead was a “puppet” for Cohen and Trump, the lawsuit says.
In February, Davidson learned Daniels had a new attorney and was about to spill the beans on her affair with Trump, the complaint says. Davidson then allegedly tipped Cohen off about her plans. As a result, Cohen began an arbitration against Daniels on Feb. 27 and sought a temporary restraining order to silence her, the lawsuit alleges.
Davidson allegedly contacted Cohen again in March, alerting him that Daniels was preparing to file a lawsuit to void her “hush agreement.”
Cohen then made efforts to quickly meet with First Lady Melania Trump to “get out in front” of the bombshell suit, “and to convince her that [Daniels] was a liar and not to be trusted,” the complaint says.
The embattled Trump stalwart allegedly met with Melania Trump on March 2 at Mar-a-Lago but stuck with his own narrative. “Cohen did not disclose to Mrs. Trump that not only was [Daniels] far from being a liar, Mr. Cohen had begged her to appear on Mr. Hannity’s show weeks earlier,” the lawsuit says.
The complaint also alleges that Cohen recorded his conversations with Davidson, and that those discussions include sensitive information on Daniels.
Meanwhile, Davidson is accused of withholding Daniels’ entire client file from her and refusing to turn over text messages and correspondence with Cohen.
“Mr. Davidson’s failure to provide the information demanded has prejudiced Ms. Clifford in numerous ways including… hampering her ability to review documents and cooperate with government inquiries regarding Mr. Cohen, Mr. Trump and Mr. Davidson.”
Daniels is seeking damages and fees in excess of $100,000.