Behind the Legal Woes: Who is Stormy Daniels?

a katz /
a katz /

During Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, millions of Democrats feigned outrage over an alleged 2006 affair between the nominee and an adult film star, Stormy Daniels. Most of America had no idea who Stormy Daniels was at the time, and even now, unless they are immersed in the adult film industry, they still don’t.

Stephanie Clifford was born in 1979 and by the age of 17 had found success on stage as a stripper. She chose to rename herself Stormy Daniels in honor of rock band Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, who had named his daughter Storm.

No longer content with the stage, Stormy sought to expand her career to the adult film industry and in 2004, the actress achieved recognition with the Best New Starlet award from the Adult Video News magazine. Daniels went on to direct parody porn for Wicked Pictures in 2004 and in 2014, she was inducted into the AVN hall of fame. Later that same year, Daniels received a second Hall of Fame induction, this time from the X-Rated Critics Organization (XRCO).

From 2015 through 2018, Daniels was married to Brendon Miller, an adult film star who also edited many of the movies she produced.

While Daniels is best known for her pornographic stardom, she has also appeared in a Maroon 5 video and several mainstream movies, including “Knocked Up” and “The 40-year-Old-Virgin.”

In July 2006, Daniels alleges that she met Trump at the American Century celebrity golf tournament. Per Daniels, the two had consensual sex and maintained contact until 2007. Daniels claims that Trump promised her an appearance on his reality TV Show, “The Apprentice.” Trump denies the encounter.

In exchange for a $15,000 payment, Daniels broke the news about the alleged affair in a 2011 interview with a reporter from the celebrity gossip publication “In Touch.” Following a lawsuit threat from Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen, the magazine dropped the story and did not pay Daniels the $15,000. The publication sat on the interview for almost seven years, finally releasing it in 2018.

In 2016, upon hearing about Trump’s presidential aspirations, Daniels offered to share her story with several media outlets, including Good Morning America. Instead of moving forward with her allegations, Daniels accepted $130,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The Wall Street Journal discovered the story and subsequent NDA in 2018, publishing an article exposing the affair and agreement. Daniels initially signed a statement denying the entire incident, but later recanted her denial and alleges the affair happened as she had originally described.

Trump attorney Michael Cohen acknowledges the $130,000 payment to Daniels, insisting it was from his own personal funds and unrelated to Trump’s campaign.

Attorney Michael Avenatti, representing Daniels, filed suit to have her released from her NDA, and she offered to return the money she was paid when she signed it. Avenatti himself went on to face legal woes following allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct in high school and college.

Avenatti faced further humiliation when his star witness was unable to verify the accuracy of alleged sexual misconduct against judicial nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. He has since been charged with tax evasion, fraud, and embezzlement.

Trump’s legal battle with Daniels has reemerged, thanks to Democratic determination to find something to charge the former president with to ruin his ability to seek reelection. The entire case is based on Trump’s alleged misreporting of income and a potential campaign finance violation.

Of all the charges the left has drummed up, this is the weakest in both merit and substance. While Democrats are drooling over the possibility of finally finding a charge that may stick, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is facing an uphill battle. Prosecutors must prove that Trump ordered the falsification of documents and that the falsifications were ordered to sanction additional criminal activities.

Stormy Daniels has recently stated that if Trump is jailed, she will “dance down the street.” Looking at the challenges in proving this case, however, she would be better off sticking to dancing on the stage.