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Stormy Daniels seeking Trump's answers under oath

Published:Wednesday | March 28, 2018 | 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP):

Cranking up pressure on the president, porn actress Stormy Daniels wants Donald Trump to answer her attorney's questions under oath about a pre-election payment aimed at keeping her quiet about their alleged tryst.

If she's successful, it would be the first deposition of a sitting president since Bill Clinton in 1998 had to answer questions about his conduct with women.

Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, is seeking sworn testimony from Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, about a $130,000 payment made to Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election as part of a nondisclosure agreement she is seeking to invalidate. Avenatti filed the motion in US District Court in California on Wednesday.

Trump has kept a low profile all week, as has first lady Melania Trump, who is spending the week in Florida. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had denied the allegations and directed further questions to outside counsel. Cohen's attorney, David Schwartz, told CBS that the filing was a "reckless use of the legal system."

Despite the pushback, the persistent focus on Daniels is a troubling distraction for a White House already struggling with an exodus of top staffers, a floundering agenda and the looming threat from the Russia investigation.

Avenatti is just one on a growing list of lawyers looking to question Trump. Attorneys for a former "Apprentice" contestant have said they want to depose the president as part of a defamation suit. And the president's legal team continues to negotiate with special counsel Robert Mueller over the scope and terms of an interview with the president.