Stormy Daniels’ Lawsuit Against Trump Over Nondisclosure Agreement Tossed by Judge

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A lawsuit brought against President Donald Trump by adult-film performer Stormy Daniels was tossed by a judge on Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

According to the Associated Press, the suit, which hoped to nullify a nondisclosure agreement Daniels had entered into, was found to be moot by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero because Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, had previously agreed not to hold Daniels responsible for breaching the agreement. In essence, granting Daniels’ wish.

Daniels contended that the agreement, entered into shortly before the 2016 presidential election, should be deemed invalid because Trump never signed it.

Also Read: Stormy Daniels Ordered to Pay Trump $293,000 in Legal Fees

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, maintained that she had an affair with Trump in 2006, a claim that Trump has denied. Cohen arranged for Daniels to receive $130,000 to keep quiet about her story.

Trump and Cohen said they would not seek penalties from Daniels when they sought to have her suit dismissed, the AP reported.

Judge Otero sent the case back to Los Angeles Superior Court, noting that Daniels may be able to recuperate legal fees, according to the Associated Press.

Also Read: Stormy Daniels Says Michael Avenatti Filed Trump Defamation Lawsuit ‘Against Her Wishes’

Attorneys for both sides claimed victory from Thursday’s decision, with Trump attorney Charles Harder saying that the decision — coupled with Otero’s previous order that Daniels reimburse the president $293,000 in legal fees stemming from her defamation suit against Trump, which was dismissed — constituted a “total victory” for his client, according to the AP.

Meanwhile, Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted Thursday afternoon, “Yet again, lots of misreporting going on. Be clear: The Court specifically found that Stormy received everything she asked for in the lawsuit – she won. How people can claim this is a “loss” after we forced Trump and Cohen to cave and Cohen has been convicted, etc. is a mystery.”

Yet again, lots of misreporting going on. Be clear: The Court specifically found that Stormy received everything she asked for in the lawsuit – she won. How people can claim this is a “loss” after we forced Trump and Cohen to cave and Cohen has been convicted, etc. is a mystery.

– Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 8, 2019

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John Oliver Mocks Ivanka Trump Claim Daddy Uninvolved With Jared Security Clearance

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‘SNL’: Ben Stiller’s Michael Cohen Faces Off Against Bill Hader’s Jim Jordan (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Though Alec Baldwin didn’t pop up as Donald Trump on this week’s “SNL,” that doesn’t mean the cold open was without star power. Indeed, we got Ben Stiller popping in to reprise his impression of Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen, and then “SNL” cast member Bill Hader showed up as Republican representative Jim Jordan.

“Thank you for inviting me here today to correct the record under oath. Of course, the first time I testified was also under oath. But this time, I like really mean it,” Stiller’s Cohen said to open his testimony. “I’m here today to tell you that Mr. Trump is a racist.”

Stiller paused for a moment, then continued after realizing he wasn’t going to get the response he wanted. “Wow. I thought that would get a really much bigger reaction.”

Also Read: ‘SNL’: Alec Baldwin’s Trump Returns to Tell Us How His ‘Personal Hell of Playing President’ Will End (Video)

“I know that I was wrong. And I know it, ’cause I got caught,” Stiller’s Cohen continued. “For too many years, I was loyal to a man when I should not have been. Now I know how Khloe Kardashian feels. But now, I’m all out of faith. This is how I feel. I’m cold. And I’m ashamed. Lying naked on the floor. Illusion never changed into something real. I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn. Thank you.”

That last bit was a lyric from the song “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia.

“Now I’d like to open the floor so the Republicans can get angry at everyone except the president,” said longtime “SNL” cast member Kenan Thompson as the House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings. “The chair recognizes the congressman from Ohio, Mr. Jordan.”

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Then came former “SNL” cast member Bill Hader as Jordan.

“Good afternoon, Mr. chairman,” Hader said before turning to Stiller. “Good afternoon to you, you lying piece of human trash!

“Mr. chairman, you’re right. I’m angry. I’m angry that I have to sit here through this two-bit dirt bag flee circus. I’m so angry I couldn’t even wear a jacket today. You know something, Mr. Cohen. I’ve never even heard of you!”

“Your mother has,” Stiller as Cohen retorted.

“Hey, hey, hey. You don’t scare me with your liar mouth,” Hader continued. “Oh, I’m about to pop off! You have been working in some of the sleaziest circles in America for years. What other criminals and lowlifes have you worked for?”

Also Read: ‘SNL’: Steve Martin Appears as Roger Stone, Begs Trump to Pardon Him (Video)

“I was the deputy finance chairman for the Republican party, sir.”

“What?” Hader’s Jordan exclaimed. “Is that true? Oh, damn it. I yield of the rest of my time.”

The bulk of the rest of the sketch saw other members of the committee yielding their time back to Jordan so he could continue to embarrass himself.

Watch some clips from the cold open below:

Let’s get this hearing underway. @RedHourBen #SNL

— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) March 3, 2019

The chair recognizes the congressman from Ohio, Mr. Jordan. #SNL

— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) March 3, 2019

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Jim Carrey Puts Trump’s Money Where Michael Cohen’s Mouth Is in Latest Political Cartoon

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Michael Cohen Testimony: 14 Million Watch Donald Trump’s Former Fixer Dish

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Michael Cohen Goes to Congress: 13 Most Explosive Moments

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee dominated the airwaves on Wednesday.

Cohen’s account had people glued to their TV sets, as Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer described the president as a “con man” and a “racist,” saying he regretted his “blind loyalty” to Trump over the years.

All three major broadcast networks broke from their regular daytime programming for wall-to-wall testimony coverage.

The hearing also dominated the conversation on Twitter. At one point, eight out of the social network’s 10 trending topics were related to Cohen’s testimony.

Also Read: Michael Cohen to Call Trump a ‘Racist,’ ‘Conman’ and ‘Cheat’ in Congressional Testimony

Here are some of the most explosive moments from Wednesday’s testimony.

1. It’s “possible” the entire Trump family was compromised by Russia before the election

Cohen told Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida, that Trump, his daughter Ivanka and son Donald Jr. were involved in the Russian Trump Tower plans.

“Is it possible the whole family is conflicted or compromised with a foreign adversary in the months before the election?” Wasserman Schultz asked.

“Yes,” Cohen said. “The company was involved in the deal, which meant that the family was involved in the deal.”

2. Broadcast networks go live

Cohen’s hearing was carried live on cable news outlets CNN, MSNBC and Fox News as well as all the major networks.

ABC, CBS and NBC all broke from their regular morning programming and aired the testimony live.

Translation: This is a big deal.

At one point eight out of Twitter’s 10 trending topics were related to Cohen’s hearing. Among the top hashtags: “Cohen,” “Jim Jordan,” “Mark Meadows,” “Mr. Trump” and “TheRepublicans.”

Even Stormy Daniels was watching, tweeting just two words: “Thank you.”

Daniels, a porn actress whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, said she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

In a statement, Daniels said, referencing Cohen, “I’m proud of you for finally beginning to tell the truth about what you did, and trying to repair some of the harm you have caused. I can hear the pain and regret you feel for betraying your family and your country My heart goes out to you and your family.”

Statement from @StormyDaniels on Cohen hearing today:

– Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) February 27, 2019

3. “Shame on you!”

A heated exchange between Cohen and Rep. Jim Jordan flared up, with Cohen chastising the Republican congressman for mischaracterizing his words.

“Cohen’s consciousness of wrongdoing is fleeting, his instinct to blame others is strong,” Jordan said. “His remorse is nonexistent. He just debated a member of Congress saying I really didn’t do anything wrong…”

That seemed to hit a nerve with Cohen, who interrupted: “Mr. Jordan, that’s not what I said. And you know that’s not what I said … I said that I pled guilty and I take responsibility for my actions … Shame on you, Mr. Jordan. That’s not what I said. Shame on you!”

“Shame on you, Mr. Jordan,” Cohen says in heated exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan. “I take responsibility for my mistakes, all right? I am remorseful, and I am going to prison.”

— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 27, 2019

Also Read: Sarah Sanders Calls BuzzFeed Michael Cohen Report ‘Categorically False’

4. Cohen: I was involved in “catch and kill episodes”

Cohen said he had been involved in “several” efforts to “catch and kill” negative stories about Trump, referring to the practice where tabloids buy rights to stories for the purpose of burying them.

“I was involved in several of these catch and kill episodes,” Cohen told the committee.

“These catch and kill scenarios existed between David Pecker and Mr. Trump long before I started working for him in 2007,” he said.

Pecker is the CEO of The National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc. In December AMI admitted it paid $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to silence her from talking about what she said was an extramarital affair with Trump before he became president.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen: “I was involved in several of these catch-and-kill episodes. But these catch-and-kill scenarios existed between David Pecker and Mr. Trump long before I started working for him in 2007.”

Follow more live updates:

— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) February 27, 2019

5. Cohen and Rep. Mark Meadows argue about whether Trump is a racist 

In one of the more dramatic moments during Wednesday’s hearing, Republican Rep. Mark Meadows introduced Lynne Patton, a current Department of Housing and Urban Development official and former longtime Trump Organization employee, in an effort to push back on Cohen’s assertion that Trump is a “racist.”

“She says that as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Alabama that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist. How do you reconcile the two of those?” Meadows asked Cohen, per the Washington Post.

Cohen shot back: “And neither should I as the son of a Holocaust survivor.”

Meadows brings African American party planner, Lynne Patton, who worked for Trump org (and now runs part of HUD) to refute racism allegations.

— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) February 27, 2019

6. “Are you referring to me or the president?”

Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, said Cohen is “a pathological liar.”

“Sir. You’re a pathological liar,” he told him. “You don’t know truth from falsehood.”

Cohen replied: “Sir, I’m sorry. Are you referring to me or the President?”

7. Cohen to pro-Trump committee members: “I did the same thing that you’re doing now”

Cohen said he contributed to the “silliness” in Congress these days.

“I’m responsible for your silliness because I did the same thing that you’re doing now for 10 years,” he said, addressing Republican members of the committee who attacked his credibility.

“I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years,” he said.

Cohen: “I’m responsible for your silliness because I did the same thing that you’re doing now for ten years. I protected Mr. Trump…I can only warn people the more people that follow Mr. Trump as I did blindly are going to suffer the same consequences that I’m suffering”

— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) February 27, 2019

8. Cohen calls out Republicans for not asking a single question about Trump

During another heated exchange with Rep. Jordan, Cohen pointed out that Republican committee members had avoided any questions about President Trump.

“All I wanted to say is I just find it interesting, sir, that between yourself and your colleagues that not one question so far since I’m here has been asked about President Trump,” he said. “That’s actually why I thought I was coming today. Not to confess the mistakes that I’ve made.”

9. Cohen leaves the door open for book, TV and movie deals

Cohen told the committee he’d been offered book, TV and even movie deals, but had not taken any of them.

When asked if he’d commit to not pursuing those deals, Cohen refused.

“I have spoken to people who have sought me out regarding a movie deal,” he said.

When Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., asked if he would commit to refuse the deals, Cohen said, “No.”

Also Read: Michael Cohen Hired Tech Consultant to Rig Online Drudge, CNBC Polls for Trump (Report)

10. Cohen denies Trump ever struck Melania in an elevator 

Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, asked Cohen whether it was true that a video showing Trump hitting First Lady Melania Trump in an elevator was being shopped around to news outlets.

“The story goes that he struck Melania in that elevator because there’s a camera,” Cohen told her. “I’m sure it’s not true. … I don’t think that he struck Mrs. Trump, ever.”

“Mr. Trump would never, in my opinion,” he added.

Cohen also said that he did not believe Trump had a “love child” with a former housekeeper.

In August, a former Trump World Tower doorman said Trump had an affair with a housekeeper, which resulted in a child.

Pressed by Speier about how many times he’d threatened people at Trump’s request, Cohen said it was more than 500 times.

11. Cohen doubts Trump’s tax returns were ever audited

Coming back from the break, Cohen was asked whether it was true that Trump had been audited by the Internal Revenue Service in 2016.

During the 2016 presidential race, Trump had repeatedly said that he could not release his tax returns because he was in the midst of an IRS audit.

Cohen said that Trump feared public scrutiny of his financial documents would lead to an IRS audit and penalties, leading Cohen to believe he was not under audit at the time.

“Statements that he has said to me is that what he didn’t want was to have an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts run through his tax return and start ripping it to pieces and then he’ll end up in an audit and he’ll ultimately have taxable consequences, penalties and so on,” Cohen said.

“I presume that he’s not under audit,” Michael Cohen says about President Trump’s taxes.

Cohen also says Trump never wanted to release his tax returns because he didn’t want “an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts” running through them.

— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) February 27, 2019

13. AOC grills Cohen 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman Democrat from New York, spent her time grilling Cohen on whether Trump falsely inflated the value of his assets when it benefitted him financially.

Cohen said that Trump had at times upped the value of his assets to insurance companies, while downplaying the value of some of his properties to get more tax breaks.

Where would the committee find more information on this?” Cortez asked. “Do you think we need to review his financial statements and tax returns in order to compare them?”

Yes,” Cohen replied, “and you would find it at the Trump Org.”

WATCH: Complete exchange between @RepAOC @AOC and Michael Cohen.

— CSPAN (@cspan) February 27, 2019

12. Cohen fears Trump won’t relinquish power if he loses the 2020 election

In his closing remarks, Cohen gave a chilling warning to the American people.

“My loyalty to Mr. Trump has cost me everything — my family’s happiness, my law license, my company, my livelihood, my honor, my reputation and soon my freedom,” he said. “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why I agreed to appear before you today.”

He then directly addressed the president with a series of pointed remarks.

“We honor our veterans, even in the rain,” Cohen said, referring to Trump’s decision to scrap a visit to a cemetery for fallen American soldiers due to weather. “You don’t use the power of your bully pulpit to destroy the credibility of those who speak out against you. This behavior is churlish. It denigrates the office of president of the United States and it is simply un-American.”

“I pray the country does not make the same mistakes I have made,” he said.

Michael Cohen delivers a scathing denunciation of Trump in his closing remarks, speaking directly to Trump and saying that Trump’s actions denigrate the office of the president and are “simply un-American.” Via CSPAN

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 27, 2019

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Michael Cohen to Call Trump a ‘Racist,’ ‘Conman’ and ‘Cheat’ in Congressional Testimony

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

In his prepared remarks before Congress on Wednesday, Michael Cohen will call Donald Trump a “racist,” “conman” and “cheat,” and testify that as late as June 2016, he witnessed Roger Stone inform Trump that he was communicating with Wikileaks, according to Politico.

However, Cohen will also tell Congress that he has no “direct evidence” of any collusion between Trump and his campaign, and Russia. “I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions,” his statement says, according to the site.

Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

In the statement, also obtained by the New York Times, Cohen says he will provide documentation of “illicit” behavior, including that Trump reimbursed him for “hush money payments” to “cover up his affair with an adult film star”; that Trump embezzled money from his charity foundation; and that “at Mr. Trump’s direction,” Cohen sent threatening letters to Trump’s high school and colleges to stop them from releasing his SAT score and grades.

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Cohen says he will also provide financial statements from 2011-2013 that demonstrate Trump frequently misrepresents his finances.

Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators in November. 

He says in his statement that he lied to Congress in 2017 about how long he continued to negotiate on Trump’s behalf for a hotel in Moscow. Cohen also says Trump’s attorneys “reviewed and edited” his 2017 congressional testimony in advance.

Read the full document here.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap. Cohen’s legal representatives also did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Cohen is scheduled to testify before Congress Wednesday beginning at 10 a.m. ET.

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Jussie Smollett Denies Hiring Defense Attorney

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A representative for “Empire” star Jussie Smollett denies a report that the actor has hired Michael Cohen’s criminal defense attorney, Michael D. Monico.

Monico said during an interview on WGN’s The Roe Conn Show on Thursday and then confirmed in a report in Variety Friday that Smollett was his client.

“I’d like to get your thoughts [on] Jussie Smollett here, but we can’t get your thoughts on Jussie Smollett because [of] this big developing story today, and it turns out you’re the attorney for Jussie Smollett, too,” Conn said to Monico.

“Yes, at the moment, I am,” Monico replied.

Also Read: Jussie Smollett Case: Arrested Men Released Without Charges ‘Due to New Evidence’

Smollett’s rep denied the report when contacted by TheWrap on Saturday, and Monico declined to comment on the matter.

Smollett told detectives he was attacked near his Chicago home by two men on Jan. 29 yelling about “MAGA,” as well as spewing racist and homophobic slurs. According to a police statement, the actor reported that he was battered “about the face,” that “an unknown chemical substance” was poured on him, and that the attackers wrapped a rope around his neck.

Two males were arrested and questioned as “potential suspects” then released without charges “due to new evidence” on Friday.

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Police have said that Smollett continues to be considered a victim in relation to the investigation, contesting two recent news reports saying investigators have raised the possibility that Smollett may have orchestrated the attack himself.

“Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives,” Chicago police tweeted Thursday. “Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”

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