Trials & Litigation

Stormy Daniels could have to pay at least $20M in liquidated damages, Trump lawyer tells court

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Stormy Daniels. Kobby Dagan/

Stormy Daniels has violated a confidentiality agreement at least 20 times, requiring her to pay possible liquidated damages of at least $20 million, according to a court document filed on Friday.

The figure was included to show the amount in controversy in a notice of removal that moves Daniels’ state lawsuit to federal court, report Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Daniels contends she isn’t bound by the agreement to keep quiet about her alleged relationship with Donald Trump because Trump never signed it.

The contract requires Daniels to pay liquidated damages of $1 million for each breach.

Daniels has sat for an interview that is set to air on 60 Minutes on March 25, the New York Times reported last Thursday.

President Donald Trump has joined the fight by hiring a lawyer who once represented Hulk Hogan in a successful suit against Gawker for publication of a sex video. The lawyer, Charles Harder, told the court that Trump was joining the notice of removal and intended to join a petition to compel arbitration under an arbitration provision in the contract.

Trump “intends to pursue his rights to the fullest extent permitted by law,” Harder’s notice says.

Trump’s lawyers likely want to remove the case to federal court because federal courts could be a more favorable forum in the bid to seek arbitration, according to the New York Times.

The removal notice also says that Daniels offered to return the $130,000 she received under the contract in exchange for a agreement that the contract is null and void.

Harder previously represented Trump when he wrote cease and desist letters seeking to stop publication of a book that included information from Steve Bannon. He also represented Melania Trump in two libel suits against the British tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail, which were settled in April.

The contract at the heart of the Stormy Daniels case appears to be signed by Daniels and by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, representing Essential Consultants, the company he formed to transfer the money to Daniels. The removal notice is signed by another lawyer representing Essential Consultants, Brent Blakely.

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