On Sunday, a cryptic tweet revealed that Stormy Daniels met with a forensic artist to reportedly come up with a sketch of a man who allegedly threatened her back in 2011. Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006 and that, in 2011, a man allegedly threatened her in a parking lot, warning her to keep quiet about it. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, has denied ever threatening her.
The aforementioned tweet was shared by Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti. Avenatti tweeted a photo of her meeting with renowned sketch artist Lois Gibson. The photo features Gibson sketching on an easel while Daniels peruses various facial profiles. Avenatti did not provide much detail in the tweet, but did use the hashtags "#thugsearch, #searchforthetruth, and #basta" to accompany the photo. As the Washington Post noted, Avenatti did not note when the photo was taken or when a sketch would be revealed.
Daniels allegedly had an affair with Trump in Lake Tahoe in 2006. She also alleges that someone tried to intimidate her into keeping quiet about the liaison in 2011, when a man approached her in a parking lot in Las Vegas while she was with her young daughter. As Daniels described to 60 Minutes on March 25, the man allegedly told her, “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.” He also then allegedly looked at Daniels' daughter and said to her, “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”
As The Hill reported, Avenatti's photo of Daniels meeting with Gibson comes a day after he announced on Twitter that there would be a "major announcement in the coming days regarding our efforts to identify the thug who threatened Ms. Clifford in Las Vegas in 2011 to 'leave Trump alone' while making reference to her little girl."
In addition to alleging that she was intimidated into remaining silent about the alleged affair, Daniels also alleges that Cohen paid her $130,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement in 2016. Cohen has said he paid Daniels out of his own pocket in 2016 and that "neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign" was a part of the transaction. Therefore, according to Cohen, the payment to Daniels did not violate any campaign finance laws. Cohen also told Vanity Fair on March 19 that he has "never threatened her [Daniels] in any way" and that he is "unaware of anyone else doing so.”
For his part, Trump has denied knowing anything about the payment. As the New York Times reported, the president pointedly responded "No" when asked on April 5 if he had been aware of it. When a reporter then asked the president why his attorney had made the payment to Daniels, Trump responded, "You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney, and you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen.”
In addition to sharing the photograph of Daniels and the sketch artist on Sunday, Avenatti also filed a motion in federal court in California that same evening. The motion seeks to depose President Trump and Cohen in Daniels' lawsuit against the president's lawyer. According to CNN, in the filing documents, Avenatti indicated that he wishes to ask the president and Cohen a variety of questions regarding the $130,000 payment, particularly focusing on whether Trump knew about the payment.
On social media, people are eagerly anticipating revelations from Avenatti, with several users indicating in response to the attorney's recent tweet that they can't wait to discover further details about the case. Others praised Avenatti for his work in moving the case forward. While it is not yet known how soon Daniels' lawyer will share further information, it is clear the attorney is very committed to pursuing the case — and has captured the public's attention in the process.