Stormy Daniels Escalates Lawsuit Against Trump to Accuse Michael Cohen of Defamation

The legal battle is ramping up.

Patrick Fallon/ZUMA

One day after appearing on national television to discuss intimate details of her alleged sexual relationship with President Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels has expanded her ongoing lawsuit against Trump to include a defamation case against the president’s personal lawyer.

The lawsuit was amended Monday to accuse Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, of defamation for suggesting that she is lying about the affair, pointing to a February statement in which Cohen discussed the mounting controversy over the alleged tryst. “Just because something isn’t true,” Cohen said, “doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage.” Daniels now claims that the statement wrongly implies that she was “not being truthful in claiming she had an intimate relationship with Mr. Trump.”

The new legal challenge comes hours after Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti appeared on several morning news shows to say that Daniels possessed a trove of evidence that could prove that she had a sexual relationship with Trump. Avenatti also reiterated the argument that Daniels’ case was not just about sex—and that Trump and Cohen’s attempt to bury the affair demonstrated a potential violation of campaign contribution laws. 

When asked about the possibility that Trump may have violated such laws, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah on Monday said that the White House did nothing wrong. He could not, however, speak on behalf of the campaign or Trump Organization. Meanwhile, Cohen sent Daniels a cease and desist letter on Sunday demanding she retracts her claims.

The case against Cohen is similar to a defamation case against Trump filed by Summer Zervos, who is arguing that the president disparaged her by calling her a liar after she went public with the allegation Trump groped her in 2007. Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed Trump’s attempt to squash the lawsuit, declaring that no one is above the law.



Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.