Stormy Daniels, the adult-film star who allegedly had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump and received $130,000 not to talk about it before the 2016 election, filed a lawsuit this week. The basis for the case is pretty straightforward: Daniels wants to talk about the alleged affair and is trying to break the "hush agreement" that seems to require her silence.
What we didn't know until late yesterday was that Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney who facilitated the pre-election porn-star payment, has also taken some fresh legal steps of his own.
President Donald Trump's lawyer is trying to silence adult-film star Stormy Daniels, obtaining a secret restraining order in a private arbitration proceeding and warning that she will face penalties if she publicly discusses a relationship with the president, NBC News has learned.
As NBC News' report explained, Cohen obtained a temporary restraining order against Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, from a private arbitrator. The order "bars her from disclosing 'confidential information' related to the nondisclosure agreement signed in October 2016, just two weeks before Election Day.
Why Cohen didn't go to a court, with public proceedings, is unclear.
Meanwhile, for the first time, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders yesterday addressed the scandal, insisting that Trump denies the adulterous relationship, and adding, "I've had conversations with the president about this, and as I outlined earlier, that this case has already been won in arbitration."
It's not altogether clear what case the president's spokesperson was referring to -- getting a temporary restraining order isn't the same thing as "winning" a case -- and Daniels' attorney suggested Sanders' claim is false.
What's more, the White House press secretary was less than categorical in response to questions about whether Trump knew about the apparent hush money, with the Washington Post characterizing Sanders' posture as "suspiciously coy."