In her 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper on Sunday, Stormy Daniels said that she felt as though she had no other choice but to sign a nondisclosure agreement and, later, issue what she now says is a false public denial about her alleged affair with President Trump.
A little more than a week before the 2016 election, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 for her silence; when news of the alleged affair circulated in 2018, Daniels said she signed a statement denying it because she believed there would be serious legal repercussions if she did not. “They can make your life hell in many different ways,” she said she was told.
From 60 Minutes:
Anderson Cooper: So you signed and released a statement that said, I am not denying this affair because I was paid in hush money I’m denying it because it never happened.” That’s a lie?
Stephanie Clifford: Yes.
Anderson Cooper: If it was untruthful, why did you sign it?
Stephanie Clifford: Because they made it sound like I had no choice.
Anderson Cooper: I mean, no one was putting a gun to your head?
Stephanie Clifford: Not physical violence, no.
Anderson Cooper: you thought that there would be some sort of legal repercussion if you didn’t sign it?
Stephanie Clifford: Correct. As a matter of fact, the exact sentence used was, “They can make your life hell in many different ways.”
The public has seen what a threat from Trump’s legal team might look like in real time: In 2015, Daily Beast reporter Tim Mak was threatened by Cohen while he was writing an article about Trump’s 1992 divorce and allegations made by Ivana Trump at the time that Trump had raped her while they were still married.
This is what Cohen told Mak, as reported by the Daily Beast:
“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen said. “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”
“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up… for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet… you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it,” he added.
That sounds like “hell,” if you ask me.