National News

Trump Mocks Sketch of Man Who Allegedly Threatened Stormy Daniels

Posted April 18, 2018 9:56 a.m. EDT
Updated April 18, 2018 10:00 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump turned to Twitter early Wednesday to dismiss the sketch of the man a pornographic actress claims threatened her years ago on his behalf. It was just the second time the president weighed in on the subject after weeks of frenzied news media coverage.

“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man,” he said. “A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”

The president mocked the sketch, which the pornographic actress, Stephanie Clifford (known as Stormy Daniels) released Tuesday. His tweet accompanied a post from another Twitter user, who said the man looked like Clifford’s former husband.

“A total con job,” Trump wrote in his first ever Twitter post related to Clifford, who has said she had an affair with Trump in 2006. In making fun of the sketch, Trump shared it with his more than 50 million Twitter followers.

Trump’s representatives have denied that the two had an affair.

Clifford says the man in the sketch threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 while she was with her infant daughter.

“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.’ And he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl, it would be a shame if something happened to her mom,'” Clifford said in March during an interview aired on “60 Minutes.”

Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, are offering a $131,000 award for the person who identifies the man in the sketch.

Clifford has said that Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, paid her $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair she says she had with Trump while he was married. The FBI has been investigating Cohen for bank fraud related to this payment and other matters.

Clifford filed a lawsuit in California last month in which she claims a nondisclosure agreement she signed shortly before the 2016 presidential election was null and void because Trump never signed it.

Trump, who is known for tweeting his mind, has said little about the scandal. This month, he denied knowing about the payment Cohen made. Avenatti has said that the president’s denial only helps his client’s case. In his own Twitter post Wednesday, Avenatti appeared to regard the president’s tweet as a gift and called Trump a “completely unhinged, undisciplined opponent.”

“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,” Avenatti said. “Always leads to BIGLY problems…like new claims (i.e. defamation). LOL. #xmas #hanukkah #basta.”

Avenatti also tweeted on Wednesday that evidence collected in an FBI raid on Cohen’s office and residences would show documents and recordings “showing con job after con job.”

In an interview with The New York Times, Avenatti said the president’s tweet calling the sketch a “total con job” opens the door to a defamation claim. He said Trump “has now effectively called my client a liar” and accused Clifford of “perpetrating a con.” Avenatti said he will decide in the coming days whether to pursue a defamation claim.