26 March, 2018
American officials said Monday that President Donald Trump "doesn't believe any of the accusations" made by Stormy Daniels.
The maker of sex films says she was threatened when she tried to tell her story that she had had sex with Trump. She spoke about her story Sunday night on the CBS television news program 60 Minutes.
Stormy Daniels met Trump in 2006 in the state of Nevada. She said they had sex one time and continued to be in contact with one another for more than a year.
Trump married his current wife Melania in 2005.
Daniels says she accepted money in exchange for her silence about the relationship because she feared for her family's safety.
Lawyers for the president have denied reports of the relationship.
Daniels told 60 Minutes she was threatened in a car parking area in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2011. She said she had her baby daughter with her at the time.
The reported threat took place after Daniels had agreed to tell her story to the magazine In Touch Weekly in exchange for $15,000.
She told 60 Minutes, "A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,'" she said. "And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, 'That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom.'
The In Touch story did not appear in print in 2011. Two former employees of the magazine told 60 Minutes that the story was not published because Trump lawyer Michael Cohen threatened to sue the publication.
The story was published earlier this year.
Ten days before the 2016 presidential election, Daniels accepted $130,000 from Cohen to stay quiet. The payment was part of a non-disclosure agreement.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the payment earlier this year. At the time, Daniels publicly denied having a sexual relationship with Trump.
But on 60 Minutes, Daniels said that denial was a lie that she had been "bullied" into making by her former lawyer and business adviser.
"They made it sound like I had no choice," she said. She told 60 Minutes, "The exact sentence used was, ‘They can make your life hell in many different ways.'"
She said she did not know who could make her life hell, but that she believed "it to be Michael Cohen."
Cohen has denied threatening Daniels, and refused a request to appear on 60 Minutes. But he admitted he paid Daniels. He said he used his own money. In a statement last month, Cohen said, "Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction..."
Late Sunday, a lawyer representing Cohen released a letter demanding a retraction and an apology from Daniels. The letter said Cohen had absolutely "nothing whatsoever" to do with someone threatening her and that he "does not even believe that any such person exists."
Last week, businesswoman and former model Karen McDougal also appeared on television to tell of her reported relationship with Trump.
McDougal said she was sexually involved with Trump for 10 months beginning in 2006. She has taken legal action to withdraw from a non-disclosure agreement she signed before the 2016 election. She was paid $150,000 as part of the agreement.
On March 6, Stormy Daniels took similar legal action against the president. Her lawyer argued that Trump never signed the agreement that orders Daniels to keep quiet about their reported relationship.
Trump's representatives say he did not have a relationship with either woman and that he had no knowledge of any payments to them.
I'm Caty Weaver.
Smita Nordwall reported this story for VOA News. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English, with additional materials. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Words in This Story
park - v. to leave a car, truck, motorcycle, etc., in a particular place
lean - v. to bend or move from a straight position
shame - n. something that is regretted
non-disclosure agreement - a contract by which one or more parties agree not to publicly share or spread information that they have shared with each other
bully - v. to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force
hell - n. a very difficult or unpleasant situation or experience
transaction - n. a business deal : an occurrence in which goods, services, or money are passed from one person, account, etc., to another
retraction - n. a statement saying that something you said or wrote at an earlier time is not true or correct