In anticipation of what could be a lengthy legal battle, Stormy Daniels is crowdfunding for a lawsuit against Trump that she filed in early March. The case centers on an alleged affair between the two and a non-disclosure agreement that Daniels signed regarding it. President Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen says that Trump "vehemently denies" having had an affair with Daniels.
In her lawsuit, Daniels claims that she and Trump had a sexual relationship that began in the summer of 2006 and lasted into 2007. She acknowledges that she signed a non-disclosure agreement forbidding her from publicly discussing the alleged affair; however, Daniels also says that Trump himself never signed the agreement, and is thus asking a judge to declare it invalid. A hearing for that case has been scheduled for July 12th in Los Angeles.
"I am attempting to speak honestly and openly to the American people about my relationship with now President Donald Trump, as well as the intimidation and tactics that he, together with his attorney Michael Cohen, have used to silence me," Daniels writes in her crowdfunding page on Crowd Justice. "I need funds to pay for: attorneys' fees; out-of-pocket costs associated with the lawsuit, arbitration, and my right to speak openly; security expenses; and damages that may be awarded against me if I speak out and ultimately lose to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen."
Within a day of her setting up the crowdfunding page, donations reached more than $90,000.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the alleged affair and non-disclosure agreement in January. Cohen acknowledged that he paid Daniels $130,000, but refused to say why, and stressed that "neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction."
Daniels spoke extensively about the alleged affair in a 2011 interview with In Touch magazine, telling the magazine that the two of them had sex at a charity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe while Trump's wife Melania was pregnant. She also gave an interview to a radio station in 2007 wherein she discussed having an affair with a celebrity who she didn't name; on Tuesday, the host of that show claimed that at the time, Daniels told him in writing that the celebrity in question was Trump.
On January 31st 2018, however, the actress's publicist released a statement, attributed to Daniels and ostensibly bearing her signature, in which she appeared to deny the affair. But in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel that same day, Daniels said that "it doesn't look like my signature" on the statement and told Kimmel that she "do[es] not know where it came from." When asked directly several times whether she had had an affair with Trump, Daniels didn't answer.
On March 6th, Daniels sued Trump. In the lawsuit, she flatly stated that she and Trump did have an affair, and that Trump and Cohen "aggressively sought to silence [her] as part of an effort to avoid her telling the truth." She further claimed that the January 31st statement denying the affair was "false," and that she only signed it because Cohen "forced" her to do so "through intimidation and coercive tactics." Most importantly, Daniels says that Trump never signed the original non-disclosure agreement, and is asking a judge to rule it invalid on those grounds.
Now, Daniels is raising money to pay for legal fees and other costs associated with her quest to "tell the truth about what happened." On the fundraising page, she says that Trump and Cohen have filed "a bogus arbitration proceeding" against her in another attempt to prevent her from speaking publicly about the alleged affair.
"I am more fortunate than many, many people in this country," Daniels writes at the fundraising page. "And for that I am grateful. But unfortunately, I do not have the vast resources to fight Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen alone."