On Friday, the lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels alleged that she received physical threats over going public with the relationship she says she had with President Trump (the president continues to deny the affair). Attorney Michael Avenatti revealed the information during a Morning Joe segment on MSNBC, adding that he couldn't disclose more details yet but that Daniels discussed the subject at length in a 60 Minutes interview on CBS that will broadcast in nine days, on March 25.
"There's the act and then there's the cover-up, and the American people are going to learn about both, in the interview and beyond," Avenatti said.
When the show's co-host Mika Brzezinski asked whether Daniels had been "threatened with physical harm" if she spoke out about her alleged relationship with Trump, Avenatti said "yes." But he declined to go further, including by elaborating on who threatened Daniels, and how.
"Was her life threatened?" Brzezinski asked, to which Avenatti replied, "I'm not going to answer that. People will have to tune in."
Another host tried to push the lawyer about whether any of the threats had come directly from Trump, asking him if he would "deny that the president of the United States threatened your client."
"I will not confirm or deny," Avenatti replied.
Brzezinski pushed Avenatti still further. "Was the threat verbal?" she asked. "Did anyone point a gun at her?"
"I'm not at liberty to discuss that," Avenatti said.
Beyond alleging his client had been physically threatened, the attorney offered another statement about Daniel's forthcoming CBS interview.
"It will become apparent to people when they tune into 60 Minutes on March 25 as to the details relating to the threat," he said, "and the American people can judge for themselves on who's telling the truth and who's not telling the truth. Again, we're not trying to silence anyone. We want both sides to lay out their version of the facts so the American people can decide for themselves what happened."
Daniels taped the interview recently with Anderson Cooper, who has been a staunch critic of the president.
Last weekend, BuzzFeed News reported that Trump's lawyers were considering taking legal action to prevent CBS from broadcasting the conversation.
"We understand from well-placed sources they are preparing to file for a legal injunction to prevent it from airing," a source told BuzzFeed News. The Washington Post reported that CBS did not respond to inquiries about whether the network had been threatened with legal action by Trump's lawyers to prevent it from sharing the interview. It does seem that something possibly interfered with the segment's date: BuzzFeed News reported that it would debut on March 18 — this Sunday — but Avenatti told Morning Joe on Friday that the broadcast date is March 25.
Daniels, whose birth name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges that she had an affair with Trump in 2006. In a 2011 In Touch interview that was published in full for the first time in January, she said that the two slept together once but continued a relationship for around a year. At the time, Trump was married to Melania and had a child with her, his then-newborn son Barron.
When The Wall Street Journal broke a story in January revealing that Trump's lawyer paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about their alleged affair, she initially denied the claims. In a statement provided by Trump's attorney, Daniels said, "My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more," adding, "Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false."
But Daniels has since reversed that denial. Because Trump never signed the nondisclosure agreement, she says, she is entitled to speak to the public about their encounters. The contract was reportedly also never notarized.
The Trump camp still denies that the president ever had a relationship with Daniels. "None of these allegations are true," Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier this month.