A lawyer for President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has demanded a retraction and apology from Stormy Daniels, saying she suggested on “60 Minutes” that Cohen was behind a physical threat to the porn actress.
Daniels, whom Cohen paid $130,000 just before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump, told the CBS show that a man confronted her and her infant daughter in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011. He warned her not to go public with her story, she said.
Daniels did not accuse Cohen of arranging the threat. But her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said Monday on NBC’s “Today” show that it had to have been Cohen or someone else involved with Trump.
Cohen’s lawyer, Brent H. Blakely, told Avenatti in a letter Sunday night that statements blaming Cohen for the threat were false and defamatory.
“In truth, Mr. Cohen had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any such person or incident, and does not even believe that any such person exists, or that such incident ever occurred,” Blakely wrote.
Daniels told “60 Minutes” that the man in the parking lot told her to leave Trump alone, glanced at her baby and said, “It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”
Blakely demanded she and Avenatti make clear through the national media “that you have no facts or evidence whatsoever to support your allegations that my client had anything whatsoever to do with this alleged thug.”
Avenatti responded by taunting Cohen.
“Will this guy ever come clean with the American people or is he more interested in trying to role play Ray Donovan (badly),” Avenatti told The Times in a text message, referring to the television show about a shady fixer.
Preliminary Nielsen ratings overnight indicated that the “60 Minutes” episode with Daniels was one of the most watched in years.
Trump, through a spokeswoman, has denied having an affair with Daniels.
Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney, did not respond to an email seeking comment on Daniels’ appearance on “60 Minutes.”
The ethics group Common Cause has filed complaints alleging that the hush money Cohen wired to Daniels 11 days before the November 2016 election was an illegal secret campaign contribution. Cohen denies the payment was meant to influence the election.
Cohen has a history of using aggressive tactics on Trump’s behalf.
NBC anchor Megyn Kelly, who sparred with Trump when he was running for president, posted a sample Sunday night on Twitter: Cohen’s 2015 threats against Tim Mak, then a reporter at the Daily Beast.
“Speaking of #michaelcohen threats (#StormyDaniels), here is what then-daily beast (now npr) reporter @timkmak says he rec’vd from Cohen while writing a piece on DT’s divorce,” Kelly wrote.
Mak asked Cohen about a deposition by Ivana Trump in which the president’s first wife alleged that Trump “raped” her in 1989.
“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have,” Cohen responded, according to the Daily Beast.
With a burst of profanity, Cohen warned Mak to tread lightly, because he was going to do something disgusting to the reporter.
“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up… for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet,” Cohen told the Daily Beast, adding, “you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it.”
When Ivana Trump’s statement about rape became public after the couple’s 1991 divorce, she said the incident made her feel “violated,” but did not want her accusation interpreted “in a literal or criminal sense.”
10:20 a.m.: This article was updated with Megyn Kelly’s tweet and Michael Cohen’s comments to the Daily Beast on Ivana Trump’s rape allegation.