April 4 (Reuters) – Stormy Daniels featured prominently in a Manhattan grand jury’s investigation of Donald Trump. The porn star said they had a sexual encounter in 2006, a year after he married his current wife Melania and more than a decade before the businessman-turned-politician became U.S. president.
At the center of the story is $130,000 in hush money she was paid on the eve of his 2016 election. Trump, facing charges in a Manhattan court, has denied a relationship. He says the payment was made to stop her “false and extortionist accusations.” Here are some facts about Daniels and their alleged relationship.
STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is 44 years old and from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has been a well-known personality for more than two decades in the adult film business, appearing in and directing numerous videos.
WHAT SHE SAYS ABOUT THEIR RELATIONSHIP
Daniels has said she was introduced to Trump in July 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. She said he invited her to dinner and they dined at his hotel suite, where he showed her a copy of a golf magazine with his picture on the cover.
“And I was like, ‘Someone should take that magazine and spank you with it,'” Daniels told the CBS program “60 Minutes” in 2018.
“So he turned around and pulled his pants down a little,” she said. He was wearing underwear, she added, “and I just gave him a couple of swats.”
She said Trump asked her about herself and whether she would like to appear on his TV show “Celebrity Apprentice.”
“He was like, ‘Wow, you – you are special. You remind me of my daughter.’ You know, he was like, ‘You’re smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you,'” Daniels said.
She said she excused herself at one point to use the bathroom and when she returned Trump was “perched” on the edge of the bed.
“I realized exactly what I’d gotten myself into. And I was like, ‘Ugh, here we go,” Daniels told “60 Minutes.” “And I just felt like maybe … I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone’s room alone.”
She said the two had consensual sex.
Daniels said Trump made telephone calls to her over the following year and she met him again at his request in July 2007 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles to discuss her possible appearance on “Celebrity Apprentice.” Daniels said he wanted to have sex again at the hotel but she declined. She said Trump called her a month later to tell her he had not been able to get her booked on “Celebrity Apprentice.”
PAYMENT AND NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT
On Oct. 28, 2016, days before the presidential election that Trump won, Daniels signed a non-disclosure agreement in which she pledged not to publicly discuss her relationship with him in exchange for a $130,000 payment, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court. The pact was signed by Keith Davidson, her lawyer at the time, and Michael Cohen, then Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer. The document included a spot for Trump’s signature, but he never signed it.
In 2018, after the Wall Street Journal reported on the payment to Daniels, Cohen stated publicly that he paid her using his own money and was not directed to do so by Trump. Cohen later testified in court that Trump directed him to make the payment.
Daniels sued Trump and Cohen seeking to have the non-disclosure agreement invalidated.
Trump’s lawyers subsequently acknowledged he did not sign the agreement and would not seek to enforce it. A judge dismissed her lawsuit because the matter was resolved.
Daniels filed a 2018 defamation lawsuit against Trump in federal court over a Twitter post in which he accused her of a “con job” after she described being threatened over publicizing her account of the alleged sexual relationship with him. A Los Angeles-based federal judge decided in 2018 that Trump’s remarks were not defamatory and were protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. The judge’s decision was upheld on appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2021 declined to review the matter.
Daniels has said an unknown man approached her and her infant daughter in 2011 in a Las Vegas parking lot and made threats after she agreed to talk about her relationship with Trump in a media interview.
In 2018, she released a sketch of the man. Trump responded on Twitter to the release of the sketch, writing: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
(Compiled by Will Dunham and Luc Cohen; Editing by Howard Goller)