JUST IN: CBS is expected to air Anderson Cooper’s long-awaited interview with Anderson Cooper on Sunday, March 18—that is, assuming Trump’s legal team are not successful in suing the network to prevent the interview from airing:
A little update here: BuzzFeed News has learned that CBS plans to air the “60 Minutes” interview with Stephanie Clifford next Sunday, March 18. https://t.co/R15xWt2pzD
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) March 11, 2018
Attorneys for President Donald Trump over the weekend reportedly threatened to take CBS to court if the network goes through with plans to air an interview with the adult film actress with whom Trump had a year-long adulterous affair with the president.
A person familiar with the legal strategy told BuzzFeed News that a “legal injunction” was already being prepared to prevent Stephanie Clifford, whose screen name is Stormy Daniels, from speaking on the CBS program.
An injunction would be the latest in a series of moves to silence Daniels, including a restraining order the president’s lawyers recently obtained.
Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, moved the hush agreement into public view Tuesday when he filed suit on Daniels’ behalf, claiming the contract was invalid because it did not have Trump’s signature.
According to the Washington Post, the specter of a president who has made no secret of his hostility to the media trying to silence the porn star also raises constitutional concerns. Now that Trump is president, the existence of an extramarital relationship becomes a matter of public concern, according to C.J. Peters, dean of the University of Akron School of Law:
A judicial “gag order” against Ms. Daniels or CBS would constitute a “prior restraint” of speech, which under First Amendment doctrine is almost never permissible.
Daniels told her story to InTouch magazine reporter Jordi Lippe-McGraw in a May 2011 phone interview. The interview remained unpublished in the magazine’s archives, and the celebrity magazine has not explained why it did not publish the story.
InTouch published a 5,500-word transcript of the interview earlier this year, after the Wall Street Journal broke news of the hush agreement.
Karen Tynan, a San Francisco-based lawyer who has adult industry clients, said she thought the president’s lawyers have few options to prevent the interview from airing, none of them good:
How does it look, not only legally but politically? If they succeed, it is a prior restraint of speech. If they fail, they look like they lost.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 8, 2018
On Friday, Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told Cooper on CNN that Daniels would pay back the $130,000 she was paid to keep quiet in order to be able to “speak openly and honestly” about the affair, or if Cohen and Trump admit that Trump knew about the deal. Avenatti also said that Americans have a right to hear Daniels’s story because “cover-ups matter”:
The cover-up is that you have Cohen claiming that Donald Trump never knew anything about this. You have the White House claiming Donald Trump never knew anything about this. That is going to be shown to be patently false.
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