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US Judge Rejects Bid for Trump Testimony on Porn Star


Stormy Daniels, an adult film star and director whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CBS News' "60 Minutes" program in early March 2018, in a still image from video provided March 25, 2018.

A U.S. federal judge has rejected a bid by a lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels to question President Donald Trump under oath about their alleged 2006 affair and a $130,000 hush payment to her just before the 2016 election to keep quiet about the alleged liaison.

Judge James Otero said the request for the Trump testimony by the porn star's attorney, Michael Avenatti, was premature because it came before an anticipated request by the president and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to settle the case through private arbitration, rather than a public hearing as Avenatti is seeking.

The legal wrangling is occurring in a lawsuit brought by Daniels to void the hush money agreement on grounds that it is invalid because Trump never signed it, either under his own name, or as "David Dennison," the pseudonym he is identified as in the legal document.

Trump, through Cohen and White House aides, has denied the affair.

But he has not publicly commented about it in the days since Daniels described in detail her encounter with the future U.S. leader last Sunday on CBS's nationally televised 60 Minutes show, a spectacle that drew 22 million viewers. On Thursday, Trump ignored reporters' questions about it as he headed to Ohio for a speech.

In this image from video, Michael Avenatti, attorney and spokesperson for adult film star Stormy Daniels, listens to a reporter's question during an interview in New York, March 21, 2018.
In this image from video, Michael Avenatti, attorney and spokesperson for adult film star Stormy Daniels, listens to a reporter's question during an interview in New York, March 21, 2018.

Avenatti told CNN he thinks he eventually will succeed in forcing Trump and Cohen to answer questions under oath about Daniels's claim the one-night affair occurred at a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada in mid-2006, months after Trump's wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron.

"Our goal is to get straight answers," Avenatti said, including whether Trump knew about the hush money paid to Daniels and whether he reimbursed Cohen, who says he paid the money out of a personal line of credit after creating a new company to facilitate the payment.

Cohen's attorney, David Schwartz, says the president did not know ahead of time about Cohen's decision to pay the hush money.

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