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Stormy Daniels' lawyer on Trump missing deadline: 'time to buckle up'

The Guardian logo The Guardian 3/13/2018 Joanna Walters in New York
Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, on 9 March 2018 in Pompano Beach, Florida. © Larry Marano/REX/Shutterstock Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, on 9 March 2018 in Pompano Beach, Florida.

“Time to buckle up,” said Stormy Daniels’ lawyer on Tuesday as the deadline set by the adult film star for Donald Trump or his lawyer to respond to her offer to give back a $130,000 hush fee in return for the freedom to speak about an alleged past affair with Trump came and went.

Michael Avenatti declined to explain the phrase or comment further during a phone call with the Guardian to discuss possible next moves by his client, who is best known by her stage name as a pornographic actor but whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

The full text of the tweet, posted moments after noon, read: “The President and Mr. Cohen have purposely ignored our settlement offer, thus doubling down on their efforts to muzzle Ms Clifford and prevent her from telling the American people what happened. Time to buckle up. #basta.”

Basta is Italian for “enough”.

On Monday Avenatti wrote to Cohen, offering to pay back a $130,000 payment made to Clifford by Cohen in October 2016, which was part of an agreement to block her from talking about an alleged relationship with Trump that she says lasted from 2006 to 2007, not long after he had married Melania.

Trump denies ever having had a relationship with Clifford and no evidence has been shown that he was aware of the payment made by Cohen to Clifford just before the presidential election, or that he has reimbursed Cohen directly or indirectly.

The letter asked that no action be taken to prevent the airing of an interview that Clifford has done for CBS 60 Minutes news program, and that she be free to talk and to “publish any materials, such as text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the president that she may have in her possession.”

Requests for comment to Cohen and his own lawyer Lawrence Rosen were not immediately returned.


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