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Trump accuser Stormy Daniels says she was threatened with physical harm

Porn star reveals details about alleged sexual encounter with US President Donald Trump

Stormy Daniels (left) during an interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes.

Washington: Stormy Daniels was threatened with physical harm in 2011 if she went public with her story of an alleged affair with Donald Trump, the porn actress said in an interview broadcast Sunday on 60 Minutes.

A few weeks after Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen learnt that Daniels had shared her story with a magazine, a stranger approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot, she told Anderson Cooper on the CBS show.

Daniels, who was heading into a fitness class, was getting her infant daughter out of a car seat, along with a diaper bag.

“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone — forget the story,’ and then he leant around and looked at my daughter,” Daniels said.

“That’s a beautiful little girl,” she recalled the man telling her. “It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”

“You took it as a direct threat?” Cooper asked.

“Absolutely,” she responded. “I was rattled. I remember going into the workout class, and my hands are shaking so much, I was afraid I was going to drop her.”

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she never saw the man again, but would easily recognise him if she did. She said she was too scared to report the incident to the police.

The magazine, In Touch, did not publish Daniels’ story until January 2018, after the Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen had arranged to pay her $130,000 (Dh477,425) just before the November 2016 presidential election in return for her silence.

Asked why she decided to speak out to 60 Minutes, Daniels said it was “very important to me to be able to defend myself.”

“I’m not OK with being made out to be a liar, or people thinking that I did this for money,” she said, while acknowledging she was now getting more lucrative job offers.

Daniels is the second woman in less than a week to talk on national television about taking payoffs during the presidential campaign to stay quiet about their sexual affairs with Trump in the early years of his marriage to Melania Trump.

On Thursday, former Playboy model Karen McDougal told Cooper on CNN that she had a 10-month love affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007 — around the same time he was seeing Daniels. McDougal was paid $150,000 in hush money in August 2016, a couple weeks after Trump won the Republican presidential nomination.

The ethics group Common Cause has filed complaints saying both payments were illegal secret campaign donations meant to influence the election. Both women are now suing to break their confidentiality agreements, saying they were tricked into the deals.

President Trump’s representatives have denied that he had affairs with Daniels or McDougal.

Daniels, 39, told CBS that she accepted her confidentiality deal out of concern for her family’s safety.

“I did not want my family and my child exposed to all the things that she’s being exposed to right now, because everything that I was afraid of coming out has come out anyway, and guess what — I don’t have a million dollars,” she said.

The confidentiality pact requires Daniels to pay the president $1 million each time she violates its terms, as she apparently did again on “60 Minutes.” Lawyers for Trump had already accused Daniels of breaching the agreement at least 20 times, saying she’s liable for as much as $20 million in damages.

Daniels also said she was pressured to sign statements released by Cohen in which she denied having an affair with Trump.

“I felt intimidated and honestly bullied, and I didn’t know what to do, and so I signed it, even though I had repeatedly expressed that I wouldn’t break the agreement,” she said. “But I was not comfortable lying.”

Cohen did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Daniels offered some explicit details of her alleged tryst with Trump. When they met at a Lake Tahoe golf tournament, she said, she went to his hotel suite for dinner. Trump showed off a magazine with his photo on the cover.

“Someone should take that magazine and spank you with it,” she recalled telling him.

“You wouldn’t,” he said, according to Daniels.

“I was like ‘turn around, drop ‘em,’” she said.

“You told Donald Trump to turn around and take off his pants?” Cooper asked.

“Yes,” Daniels replied.

“And did he?”

“Yes. So he turned around and pulled his pants down a little — you know, had underwear on and stuff, and I just gave him a couple swats.”

At the time, Daniels was 27 and Trump was 60. She remembered Trump telling her, “You are special. You remind me of my daughter.”

She said they had sex just once — the time they met. She felt no attraction to him, but consented to sex anyway, she said.

“I was not a victim,” she said.

During subsequent encounters, Daniels said, she was focused mainly on his promise to get her on “The Apprentice,” which never materialised.

“I thought of it as a business deal,” she said.

McDougal, 47, described a more intimate relationship, with dozens of sexual encounters with Trump. They enjoyed at least five rendezvous a month in California, New York and New Jersey until, overcome with guilt, she cut it off, she said. During the interview, McDougal apologised to the first lady.

Trump ignored reporters’ shouted questions about Daniels on Sunday evening as he walked into the South Portico of the White House after a weekend getaway at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida. First Lady Melania Trump stayed in Florida for her traditional spring break, a White House spokeswoman said.

Trump’s silence marks a stark contrast to his combative rhetoric in the campaign’s closing days, when he threatened to sue more than a dozen women who accused him of sexual misconduct and called them liars.

Trump never took any of the women to court, but one of them, former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, is suing him for defamation.

Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, mocked Cohen for suggesting that the $130,000 payment to Daniels, made through a shell company that Trump’s lawyer created in the closing days of the 2016 campaign, had nothing to do with the election. Cohen has said he used his own money to “facilitate” the payment under a nondisclosure agreement and would have done the same thing years earlier to protect Trump from harm.

“So why didn’t he?” Avenatti asked Cooper. “It just slipped his mind? It’s just a coincidence that, in the waning days of the campaign, he thought to himself, ‘Oh, you know, I know I’ve been thinking about this for years — perhaps now is a good time to get that NDA executed with Stormy Daniels.’”

He called the threat of $20 million in damages “a thuggish tactic.”

“It’s no different than what happened in the parking lot in Las Vegas,” Avenatti said.

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