October 8, 2018 / 6:30 PM / 12 days ago

Trump seeks dismissal of Stormy Daniels hush money lawsuit

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump asked a federal judge on Monday to dismiss adult film actress Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit challenging the validity of a $130,000 hush money agreement over a tryst she claimed they had more than a decade ago.

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo shows Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels speaking in New York City, and U.S. President Donald Trump speaking in Washington, Michigan, U.S. on April 16, 2018 and April 28, 2018 respectively. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid, Joshau Roberts/File Photos

In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Trump’s lawyer said the lawsuit by Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is moot because Trump never signed the agreement and has said he will not try to enforce it.

“There is no actual controversy between plaintiff and Mr. Trump,” the president’s lawyer Charles Harder wrote.

Michael Avenatti, who represents Daniels, has said keeping the case alive serves the public interest, and wants Trump to give sworn testimony.

FILE PHOTO: Stormy Daniels, the porn star currently in legal battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a ceremony in her honor in West Hollywood, California, U.S., May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

“This was anticipated and we are not concerned about it,” Avenatti said in an email, referring to the dismissal request.

Daniels has claimed to have had a sexual liaison with Trump at a 2006 celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California-Nevada border.

Trump has denied having had sex with Daniels. A hearing on his dismissal request is scheduled for Dec. 3.

The case is separate from Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against Trump over his April tweet challenging as a “total con job” her claim that an unknown man threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 if she went public about the alleged tryst.

U.S. District Judge James Otero, who oversees both lawsuits, appeared poised at a Sept. 24 hearing to dismiss the defamation case.

FILE PHOTO: Michael Avenatti, lawyer for adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks to the media outside the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

He called Trump’s comment “hyperbole” that appeared to be protected free speech under the Constitution’s First Amendment.

The judge has yet to rule in that case.

Daniels had struck the hush money agreement with Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen pleaded guilty on Aug. 21 to campaign finance violations, saying Trump told him before the election to arrange hush money payments to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed she had an affair with him.

Trump has denied having an affair with McDougal.

Avenatti has become a frequent critic of Trump and has said he may run for the White House in 2020.

The case is Clifford v Trump et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 18-02217.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas and David Gregorio

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