Lawyers for President Trump have 30 days to appeal a New York’s judge’s Tuesday decision allowing a woman’s sexually charged defamation case to move forward, a period that at least one women’s rights advocate is using to seek funds for new legal claims.
Lisa Bloom, a women’s rights attorney who says she has been approached by other potential clients with grievances against Trump, called Wednesday for a “rich patriot” to step forward to indemnify any women who make public their complaints against the president. Bloom declined to provide specifics of women she says she has spoken with in recent days.
Bloom said that some women “are not yet willing to come out publicly.” She suggested that a deterrent to speaking out may be legally binding nondisclosure agreements they have signed in the past with Trump’s lawyers.
“We need a rich patriot to come out and promise to indemnify them for fees and penalties they might incur if they speak,” Bloom said in an email.
Bloom’s mother, Gloria Allred, has been raising money through online appeals to help pay legal costs for California restaurant owner Summer Zervos, whose defamation case against Trump was allowed to proceed after the judge’s decision Tuesday.
Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz, reached by phone Wednesday night, declined to comment on the case filed by Zervos, an “Apprentice” contestant who brought legal action after Trump repeatedly charged in tweets and on the campaign trail that she had fabricated a story about a 2007 sexual encounter with him at the Beverly Hills Hotel. CNN reported Wednesday that Kasowitz intends to appeal.
The White House did not comment on the judge’s decision and remained silent Wednesday.
Allred, the California attorney who is representing Zervos pro bono, declined to comment Wednesday.
It was unclear which potential donors Bloom was targeting in her appeal for a “rich patriot” to help fund the costs. She has raised funds from liberal donors for other financial assistance for women who have accused Trump of inappropriate conduct, according to an investigative report in the Hill.
Spokesmen for major Democratic donors George Soros and Tom Steyer said they had not been approached by women seeking releases from Trump-related nondisclosure agreements.
The decision to allow Zervos’s case to proceed was a setback for the White House. On Sunday night, it will face a “60 Minutes” interview with Stormy Daniels, a porn star who claims she had an affair with Trump. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, accepted a $130,000 payment in 2016 from a company formed by Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen in return for her silence.
Cohen’s company, formed in Delaware just before the funds were transferred to Daniels, has filed an action in federal court suggesting it intends to seek $20 million from Daniels for violating the agreement by giving interviews about her story.
Another issue for Trump is a Tuesday lawsuit filed in Los Angeles by former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, who sued American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, for the right to speak about a 10-month affair she alleges she had with Trump.
A representative for AMI said Wednesday that McDougal has been free to respond to media inquiries about her relationship with Trump since 2016, when she signed a nondisclosure agreement.
“The suggestion that AMI ‘silenced’ her is completely without merit,” the representative said. “Rather, Karen signed a contract that gave AMI the editorial discretion to publish her life story, and she promised to write health and fitness columns and appear on the cover of two magazines.”
The representative said the lawsuit was the first time AMI had learned McDougal was not satisfied.
McDougal is scheduled to appear on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” on Thursday.
Cooper on Tuesday night also interviewed David Schwartz, an attorney for Cohen, who arranged the nondisclosure agreement with Daniels.
Schwartz called Daniels’s conduct a “massive breach” of the contract. Under questioning by Cooper, Schwartz did not explain how attorneys arrived at the $20 million penalty.
Daniels’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, previously told CNN that “at least” 10 people have offered to give Daniels $1 million so she can speak about her alleged affair with Trump. Avenatti told Fox News on Tuesday that viewers “are going to learn in detail” during the “60 Minutes” interview about threats he said have been made against Daniels.
Allred also would not comment on what documents and other materials she might seek to bolster Zervos’s defamation case against Trump through the process known as discovery, when attorneys collect materials and potentially make them public.
More likely, according to professor Oscar Chase of New York University School of Law, is that the president’s attorneys will ask for an order to keep them private.
“Typically, you would ask for the court to prohibit any release of discovery material,” Chase said.
Beth Reinhard and Emma Brown contributed to this report.