Stormy Daniels, the adult-film star who alleged that she had an affair with Donald Trump years before he took office, defended her credibility Tuesday while releasing a sketch of a man she says threatened her to keep quiet about Trump years ago.
Daniels’s story about a mysterious man confronting her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 prompted quick pushback from representatives for President Trump and Michael Cohen, the president’s personal attorney. Cohen has acknowledged arranging a $130,000 payment to Daniels in return for her silence. She first described the parking-lot threat in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
The White House has denied that Trump had a relationship with Daniels and said the president does not believe she was threatened.
During an appearance Tuesday on ABC’s “The View,” Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, made public a sketch of the man she said approached her shortly after she sought to sell a tabloid magazine her story alleging a brief affair with Trump.
Avenatti said he is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the man’s identification. The sketch showed a man Daniels described as being in his 30s or 40s with sharp cheekbones and wavy hair.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said her recent efforts to speak out about Trump are necessary to vouch for her integrity.
“It is my chance to defend myself and to make people realize how and why this happened so I can tell my side,” Daniels said. “. . . What I do for a job doesn’t impact my ability to know right from wrong or tell the truth.”
A day before appearing on “The View,” Daniels attended a Manhattan court hearing centering on materials the FBI seized from Cohen in a raid last week. Federal authorities have sought records relating to his involvement in settlements with women.
During her television appearance, Daniels said she was with her infant daughter when the man walked up and said: “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.” She also said he told her to leave Trump alone.
Daniels said that after being threatened, she took her daughter to a fitness class. When she appeared shaken, Daniels said, she lied to an instructor who checked on her, saying the child’s diaper was leaking.
She said she did not report the incident to police, saying that if she had, her story about Trump would have emerged “and then the whole world would’ve known.”
The alleged incident came after Daniels tried to sell her story of an affair with Trump to Bauer Publishing. She was interviewed in May 2011 and provided graphic details about their alleged meeting. The story was quashed, according to former Bauer employees, after Cohen threatened to sue.
On “The View,” Daniels said she did not tell her husband about the threat and that she had not told him about the encounter with Trump. “I didn’t want him to think I was a bad mom or that I put our daughter in danger,” she said.
Daniels said she did tell other people about the threat, including family members, friends and people with whom she worked, but she did not identify any of them.
Avenatti had built up suspense around the release of the sketch, though he delayed making it public after the FBI raided Cohen’s office last week.
Among the records FBI officials sought were any relating to efforts to silence women who had alleged affairs with Trump. In the most prominent example, Cohen reached a deal with Daniels just days before Trump won the presidency in 2016. Trump has denied knowing anything about the payment.
Asked whether she had thought about the impact of her story on Trump and his relatives, Daniels said, “I’ve literally thought of everything,” noting that she is averaging two hours of sleep a night recently. Ultimately, she said, “that’s between him and his family.”
Avenatti and Daniels both attended the Monday hearing over whether Cohen’s seized materials would be reviewed by Trump before federal investigators. Avenatti said he wants to ensure materials relevant to Daniels’s law suit to void her hush agreement are preserved.
Daniels, whose appearance attracted a media mob, also spoke from the courthouse steps.
“For years, Mr. Cohen has acted like he is above the law,” Daniels said Monday. “. . . He has never thought that the little man or especially women and even more women like me mattered. That ends now.”