3 Trump-related lawsuits: Porn star, Playboy model, harassment accuser

If you have been trying to keep up with the various legal battles brewing around President Donald Trump over his pre-...

Posted: Mar 21, 2018 8:01 AM
Updated: Mar 21, 2018 8:01 AM

If you have been trying to keep up with the various legal battles brewing around President Donald Trump over his pre-presidential treatment of and relationships with women, today was especially busy. And that's saying something.

There was a news of a 2011 polygraph, a lawsuit filed and a lawsuit allowed to go forward in three distinct storylines tying the President to, alternately, the porn star Stormy Daniels and the Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom have said they had affairs with the President and both of whom are now trying to wriggle out of six-figure hush money agreements, and the "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, who says Trump sexually harassed her and who is now suing him for defamation.

Got all that? It's not too much to write it again. Three different cases regarding the President and his alleged relationships with women are simultaneously in different courts.

That a President's private attorney would be battling to maintain a hush-money contract keeping an alleged affair out of the news -- paid for by personal lawyer Michael Cohen -- is a big deal. That there would be a second contract keeping a separate alleged affair out of the news -- paid for by a sympathetic news outlet and his friend David Pecker -- is approaching incredible.

That a third case involving defamation and harassment would be playing out at the same time is without precedent.

Daniels, of course, has gotten and encouraged the most press during her effort to get out of the agreement she signed to keep quiet about the affair she has previously said she had with Trump.

She was taunted yesterday by Trump's attorney Cohen, who said in Vanity Fair that he might take "an extended vacation on her dime" if he emerges victorious in a suit she brought to get out of the agreement. She could owe $20 million if she's found to have violated the $130,000 agreement to keep quiet about it.

Cohen has long denied any relationship between Daniels and the President, but Tuesday's development was that Daniels' attorney provided CNN with an affidavit saying she passed a polygraph about the affair in 2011, along with a photo of her strapped into the lie detector apparatus. (Polygraphs are generally inadmissible in court.)

Less public than the Daniels allegations is the story of McDougal, the Playboy model who allegedly had a months-long affair with Trump and had sold her story to the parent company of the National Enquirer before the election. The Enquirer killed the story. Now McDougal wants out of the $150,000 agreement.

The New Yorker has already published details of the alleged affair based on a document that a friend of McDougal's gave the magazine.

Separately, a judge ruled that the defamation suit against Trump brought by Zervos, the former "Apprentice" contestant, can go forward.

"No one is above the law. It is settled that the President of the United States has no immunity and is 'subject to the laws' for purely private acts," wrote New York State Supreme Court Judge Jennifer Schecter.

Just before the election, Zervos accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2007. She said he had kissed her twice on the lips during a lunch meeting in New York and kissed her aggressively and touched her breast on a separate occasion in Beverly Hills. Trump denied her claims, calling them "total fiction."

One, two three. The Daniels affair, which if it happened the way she described it to InTouch Weekly in 2011, was completely consensual, as was the alleged McDougal affair, if it happened as reported in The New Yorker. The Zervos incident, which involves allegations of harassment, is something else entirely.

Interesting aside: All three stories are set, at points, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Trump liked to stay while in Los Angeles.

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