LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels' attorney is renewing his bid to depose President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer about the performer's allegation she had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago and about a $130,000 payment she received under a non-disclosure pact.
In a 64-page motion filed Sunday in federal court in Los Angeles, attorney Michael Avenatti restated many of the allegations he made in an earlier pleading that was rejected by a judge as premature. Last week, however, attorneys for Trump and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, filed a motion trying to force the case into private arbitration -- a move Avenatti claims opened the door for him to re-file his request for depositions.
``Now that a motion to compel arbitration has been filed, as plaintiff predicted, and plaintiff's return date on the motion has arrived, plaintiff's motion is ripe for decision,'' Avenatti wrote in the motion.
In the court papers, Avenatti requests depositions of no more than two hours of Trump and Cohen. He said the depositions and associated requests for documents are essential to oppose efforts to force the case into arbitration. As such, he asked a judge to put the Trump/Cohen arbitration motion on hold until a decision is reached on the deposition requests.
The White House has repeatedly denied Daniels' allegations that she and Trump had an affair beginning in 2006, shortly after the birth of his son, Barron. Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One last week, Trump denied any knowledge of the $130,000 Daniels was paid by Cohen after she signed a non- disclosure agreement in October 2016, days before the presidential election.
Asked why Cohen made the payment, Trump responded, ``You'll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You'll have to ask Michael.''
Trump also said he did not know where the money came from.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing Trump claiming the ``hush agreement'' she signed in 2016 -- leading to the $130,000 payment -- is invalid because Trump himself never signed it. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims in her lawsuit that she is identified in the ``hush agreement'' by the pseudonym ``Peggy Peterson,'' while Trump used the name ``David Dennison.''
Avenatti later amended the lawsuit to include a defamation claim against Cohen over his contentions that Daniels is lying about the affair and her contention that she was physically threatened by an unknown man after coming forward with her story.
In interviews Monday, Avenatti said he may soon release a composite sketch of the man Daniels claims threatened her. On his Twitter page Sunday, he posted a photo of Daniels working with forensic artist Lois Gibson to develop a sketch.
Avenatti has been critical of Trump's claim that he was unaware of the $130,000 payment to Daniels, suggesting that Cohen was being set up as a fall guy in the case. Cohen has admitted making the payment, but said he did so with his own money.
According to Avenatti's latest court papers, a hearing on the request for depositions has been set for 10 a.m. May 7 in downtown Los Angeles.