Adult film performer Stormy Daniels is suing Donald Trump for defamation, according to CNN. Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, filed the lawsuit against the president in a New York federal court on Monday. At the core of the issue is Trump's April 18 tweet in which he mocked a composite sketch that Daniels said was of the man who threatened her in 2011. Daniels said that the unnamed man had warned her against revealing her alleged affair with Trump, which the president has denied through the White House. On April 18, Trump ridiculed the sketch and said, "A sketch years later about a non-existent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!"
In the defamation lawsuit, Daniels' lawyer referred to Daniels by her legal name, Stephanie Clifford, and said, "By calling the incident a 'con job,' Mr. Trump's statement would be understood to state that Ms. Clifford was fabricating the crime and the existence of the assailant, both of which are prohibited under New York law, as well as the law of numerous other states."
The attorney went on, "It was apparent that Mr. Trump meant to convey that Ms. Clifford is a liar, someone who should not be trusted, that her claims about the threatening encounter are false, and that she was falsely accusing the individual depicted in the sketch of committing a crime, where no crime had been committed."
Avenatti added, "Mr. Trump made his statement either knowing it was false, had serious doubts about the truth of his statement, or made the statement with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity." So far, neither the White House or Trump directly have commented on the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, Avenatti said that Trump had used his broad Twitter audience to malign Daniels. "In making the statement, Mr. Trump uses his national and international audience of millions of people to make a false factual statement to denigrate and attack Ms. Clifford," he said.
Daniels revealed the composite sketch a day before Trump shared his mocking tweet. On April 17, Daniels went on ABC News' The View and showed the sketch of the man she said threatened her from going public about her alleged affair with Trump.
The adult film performer said that the man approached her in 2011 and reportedly told her to "leave Trump alone. Forget the story." Daniels said that man approached her in a parking lot and added that he looked at her daughter and said, "That’s a beautiful girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom."
Daniels told The View that before the man reportedly approached her, "nothing was alarming about the way he looked at first." According to Daniels, the man stood somewhere between five feet and nine inches to six feet tall. She said that he was middle-aged and was "lean but fit." Prior to Daniels releasing the sketch, Avenatti tweeted, "This morning on @TheView, @StormyDaniels and I will release the composite sketch of the thug who threatened my client and her little girl in Las Vegas. This is a search for the truth."
On top of that, Avenatti told The View that if anyone correctly identified the man, they would receive a whopping $100,000 as a reward.
While speaking with CNBC News on Monday, Avenatti spoke about Trump's tweet on the sketch. "Even if you're the president of the United States, you cannot simply fabricate a story in order to fit your strategic purpose," the attorney said. There were "serious consequences" for such an act, he added.
Prior to filing the defamation lawsuit against Trump, Daniels' attorney indirectly referred to Trump's "con job" tweet and said, "In my experience, there is nothing better in litigation than having a completely unhinged, undisciplined opponent who is prone to shooting himself in the foot."