Two Stormy Daniels Lawsuits Shifted To New California Courts

Stormy Daniels this year filed not one, not two, but three lawsuits against Donald Trump or at least against his former lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen—and over the last week she won small but significant victories in two of them, most recently on Wednesday when a federal judge in New York agreed to move her defamation suit against Trump to the Central District of California, a federal court in Los Angeles.

Daniels filed the defamation suit on April 30, as reported, after she and her lawyer Michael Avenatti released a forensic sketch of a man who, according to Daniels, had physically threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011. The man, Daniels said, warned her to “leave Trump alone.”

The day after Daniels and Avenatti released the sketch, Trump posted a message to his Twitter account saying, “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”

“Trump used his national and international audience of millions of people to make a false factual statement to denigrate and attack [Ms. Daniels]," Avenatti wrote in the defamation lawsuit.

Avenatti said that he and Daniels wanted the defamation suit moved to California because, "it will allow the defamation case against Mr. Trump to move along more expeditiously. ... It is all about getting maximum accountability as quickly as possible."

Daniels is also suing Cohen and her former lawyer, Keith Davidson, claiming that in 2016, when Davidson was supposedly negotiating her $130,000 “hush money” payoff to keep quiet about her sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier, he and Cohen were actually conspiring to get the best deal not for her, but for Trump.

Daniels filed the suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court in June, but the case was shifted to a federal court the following month at the request of Cohen’s lawyers. Now, a month after that, Federal Judge S. James Otero said that the move by Cohen was “gamesmanship” and that the case is better suited to the California state court after all. 

Avenatti called the move “a blow to Michael Cohen,” and said that in state court, the case will move at a quicker pace.

2018 has been a busy year for Daniels on the legal front. In addition to her three lawsuits against Trump and Cohen, she is now being sued for divorce by her husband, Brendon Miller, who charges that she committed adultery in their marriage. On Thursday, a judge in Texas granted Daniels and Miller joint custody of their seven-year-old daughter.

Daniels herself is the target of a defamation lawsuit by the owners of a horse farm where Daniels boarded seven horses. The suit alleges that after one of the horses was killed in a flood, Daniels blamed the owners of the business and defamed them on social media.

Stormy Daniels at the 2018 AVN Awards Show; photo by Jeff Koga