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Porn star Stormy Daniels is suing Donald Trump for defamation over his tweet suggesting she lied about a man who allegedly threatened her to keep quiet about the sexual encounter she claims to have had with the president in 2006.
Daniels has alleged that she and her baby were threatened by an unidentified man in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011, shortly after she gave an interview to In Touch magazine about her alleged affair with Trump. The president has denied the affair.
Earlier this month, Daniels worked with a forensic artist to create a sketch of the mystery man, which she and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, released on The View on April 17. Trump retaliated the following day by retweeting a photo of the sketch and writing: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
That tweet is now the focus of the lawsuit Daniels filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan, which alleges that Trump’s comment effectively accuses the adult film star of fabricating the alleged threat.
“Mr. Trump used his national and international audience of millions of people to make a false factual statement to denigrate and attack Ms. Clifford,” the complaint says, according to NBC News.
“Regardless of who you are or what position you hold, you are not permitted to fabricate statements in an effort to deceive people,” Avenatti said Monday. “There are consequences for doing that.”
Avenatti also told PEOPLE of the lawsuit: “We will not tolerate Mr. Trump lying about Ms. Daniels. Period.”
The White House, which has vehemently denied the president had an affair with Daniels, did not immediately respond to request for comment on the defamation suit.
Daniels filed a separate suit earlier this year against Trump and his personal attorney Michael Cohen to dissolve a nondisclosure agreement she signed days before the November 2016 election in exchange for $130,000. Daniels claims the payment was made to keep her silent about the alleged affair.
Trump, who denied knowing anything about the payment when reporters asked him about it aboard Air Force One on April 5, told Fox & Friends on April 26 that Cohen represented him “with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal.”
With Cohen now under investigation by the FBI for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations — allegations he’s denied — a California judge on Saturday agreed to halt Daniels’ first lawsuit for 90 days.
With reporting by DIANE HERBST