Former adult-movie star Stephanie Clifford said she accepted $130,000 in 2016 to keep silent about an alleged sexual encounter with now-President Donald Trump because she feared for her family’s safety.
In a televised interview on “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Ms. Clifford said she was threatened by a man in 2011, after a failed attempt to sell her story about Mr. Trump to a magazine, as she went to a fitness class with her infant daughter.
Ms. Clifford told Anderson Cooper that she was taking out her diaper bag as the man, who she said she doesn’t know, walked up to her and said, “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.” She added: “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.’ And then he was gone.”
The interview marked the first time Ms. Clifford, 39 years old, has spoken publicly about what she said was a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump since The Wall Street Journal reported in January news of the nondisclosure agreement she reached with the president’s personal lawyer before the 2016 presidential election.
She had previously discussed it in a 2011 magazine interview, which wasn’t published until after the Journal’s report. The White House has repeatedly denied that Mr. Trump had sexual relations with Ms. Clifford
In the same interview, Ms. Clifford—known professionally as Stormy Daniels—alleged that she signed her name to statements denying any sexual encounter with Mr. Trump and denying that she was paid hush money because her then-representatives told her, “They can make your life hell in many different ways.”
Ms. Clifford told “60 Minutes” she believed “they” referred to Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, who paid Ms. Clifford in October 2016 in return for her signing a nondisclosure agreement barring her from discussing the alleged 2006 encounter.
She said she “felt intimidated and…honestly bullied. And I didn’t know what to do. And so I signed it. Even though I had repeatedly expressed that I wouldn’t break the agreement, but I was not comfortable lying.”
Mr. Cohen said in a recent interview with Vanity Fair that he has never met Ms. Clifford.
“I have never threatened her in any way and I am unaware of anyone else doing so,” the magazine quoted him as saying.
The nondisclosure agreement says that Mr. Trump can seek $1 million for every instance in which Ms. Clifford breaches it. Lawyers for the president and for a company Mr. Cohen used to pay her have said in federal court filings that she could be liable for more than $20 million based on previous statements she has made. Ms. Clifford said in the interview that she understood speaking on CBS could increase the potential penalties against her.
Mr. Cohen also has denied any sexual encounter between Ms. Clifford and Mr. Trump. The president hasn’t individually addressed the matter publicly.
Mr. Cohen has said he used his own funds to pay Ms. Clifford and that he wasn’t reimbursed by Mr. Trump’s campaign or the Trump Organization. He hasn’t addressed questions about whether he was reimbursed by Mr. Trump or anyone else.
Ms. Clifford said the deal came about as interest grew in the story of her encounter with Mr. Trump in the run-up to the election. She said her lawyer approached her and said, “I think I have the best deal for you,” referring to the offer by Mr. Cohen. Asked whether the $130,000 payment was “hush money to stay silent,” she said it was.
“The story was coming out again. I was concerned for my family and their safety,” Ms. Clifford said.
She told Mr. Cooper that she didn’t try to negotiate a higher dollar amount for her silence but could have received much more for the story—proof, she said, that she wasn’t after the money.
“I just quickly said yes to this very, you know, strict contract,” she said.
It isn’t known whether Mr. Trump was aware of the agreement, despite the involvement of one of his closest aides, Mr. Cohen, before he was president. The interview offered no more clarity on whether Mr. Trump had a connection to the deal.
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Appeared in the March 26, 2018, print edition as ‘Actress Says Fear Drove Pact With Trump Lawyer.’