WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is challenging porn actress Stormy Daniel's unsubstantiated charge that someone tied to Trump threatened her with physical harm if she went public with her story about a tryst with Trump years ago.
Daniels said in a "60 Minutes" interview broadcast Sunday that a man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011, when she was with her daughter, and said: "That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom." She said the man told her to "leave Trump alone. Forget the story." Michael Avenatti, her lawyer, acknowledged Monday he has no direct evidence tying the threat to Trump or his lawyer.
But he said he was holding back certain details of the alleged affair, including the contents of a CD or DVD he tweeted a picture of last week. "It would make no sense for us to play our hand as to this issue and we're not going to do it right now," he said on NBC's "Today" show Monday.
Cohen's attorney, Brent H. Blakely, demanded that Daniels or Avenatti apologize to his client for alleging intimidation.
"In truth, Mr. Cohen had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any such person or incident, and does not even believe that any such person exists, or that such incident ever occurred," he said, asserting that Daniels and Avenatti should "cease and desist from making any further false and defamatory statements about my client."
Daniels told "60 Minutes" she had consensual sex once with the future president, providing a few salacious details but little new evidence of the encounter.
She received a $130,000 payment days before the 2016 presidential election for her silence and has sought to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement. Cohen has said he paid the $130,000 out of his pocket while asserting Trump never had sex with the porn actress.
"He knows I'm telling the truth," Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, said of Trump. She said she was not coerced to have sex and "I was not a victim." Trump complained Monday about "So much Fake News," but it's unclear whether he was referring to Daniels.
Previously, Cohen has said neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Daniels and he was not reimbursed for the payment.
However, Avenatti told "60 Minutes" he has documents showing Cohen using his Trump Organization email address in setting up the payment and that the nondisclosure agreement was sent by FedEx to Cohen at his Trump Organization office in Trump Tower.
Another lawyer for Cohen, David Schwartz, accused Daniels of lying about the affair in his own appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"The lying is all over that piece," he said, adding that the suggestion that someone associated with Trump or his organization was behind the alleged threat in the parking lot was "speculation" and "guesswork."
Avenatti countered: "It had to have come from someone associated with Mr. Trump, there is no other place for it to have come from." He spoke on ABC.
In the interview, Daniels described a sexual encounter with Trump that began with him talking about himself and showing her an issue of a magazine with his picture on the cover. She said she asked, "Does this normally work for you?" He was taken aback, she says. "And I was like, 'Someone should take that magazine and spank you with it.'" She says she then ordered him to drop his pants and, in a playful manner, "I just gave him a couple swats."
She said they talked some more, although he quit talking about himself, and that she became more comfortable.
"He was like, 'Wow, you — you are special. You remind me of my daughter.' You know — he was like, 'You're smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you.'"
She said after dinner in Trump's room, they had sex. He didn't use a condom, she said, and she didn't ask him to. Afterward, he asked to see her again, she said.
Daniels said that before they had sex Trump had broached the idea of her being a contestant on "The Apprentice," and she likened it to a "business opportunity."
The CBS interview with Anderson Cooper came as Trump deals with allegations about his sexual exploits long before he ran for president.
Former Playboy model Karen McDougal told Cooper in a CNN interview broadcast Thursday that her affair with Trump began at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2006. McDougal said she ended the relationship in 2007 out of guilt concerning Trump's wife, Melania.
McDougal has filed suit in Los Angeles seeking to invalidate a confidentiality agreement with American Media Inc., the company that owns the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer. It paid her $150,000 during the 2016 presidential election.
The lawsuit alleges that McDougal was paid for the rights to her story of an affair, but the story never ran. It also alleges that Cohen was secretly involved in her discussions with American Media.
The "60 Minutes" interview gave the show its highest ratings in a decade, according to CBS.