So, on the first weekday news programs after the events of this weekend, who won?
Stormy won CBS Evening News and Chris Hayes (in which the March was pushed all the way to a tail end segment).
Since the news media is generally horrible about conveying what is actually happening in litigation, here's the show so far:
1. Trump/Cohen obtained an arbitration award for violating the NDA.
2. Daniels filed an action in CA state court seeking recission of the contract.
3. Trump/Cohen removed the case to federal court.
4. Today: Daniels filed an Amended Complaint in the case. It includes re-tooled allegations concerning the contract, and adds a defamation claim on the basis of Cohen's statement in February to the effect of acknowledging the 130k payment and suggesting that "Just because something isnt true doesnt mean that it cant cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump."
Here's the amended complaint:
Generally, in court proceedings, you have the opportunity to (a) include all of the claims you have, and (b) amend your claims at certain early stages of litigation. This is not a "new" suit. It is the same suit with new claims.
What's interesting is that Avenatti finally included the strongest argument for invalidity - that it was void on policy grounds as an illegal campaign contribution. He had not included that in the original complaint, so it's good to see that he's gotten some help. The only downside to that argument is that it essentially admits that Daniels was actively conspiring to keep an illegal campaign contribution secret. However, the current FEC is unlikely to act anytime soon on the complaints that have been lodged with the FEC on the subject, so Daniels admitting complicity in the scheme is probably not going to amount to anything as far as the FEC is concerned.
To put that another way, let's say that you are involved in scheme to sell cocaine over several shipments. You sign a contract and an NDA. You get paid up front by the buyer, and then decide to stop the contracted shipments. The buyer threatens you with a contract action over the contract, and so you proceed with a declaratory judgment action on the grounds that "We didn't have a contract, because I was selling cocaine!" Well, yeah, that will probably get you out of the contract.
The original Complaint had described unspecified threats or coercion alleged to have resulted in the January 2018 signed denial by Daniels. Those are all now gone from the Amended Complaint, as it is now clear, based on the 60 minutes interview, that the January 2018 "threats" were threats to enforce the contract.
Of course, the other reason for taking out the January 2018 Daniels statement is that it undercuts the defamation claim against Cohen. First off, the defamation claim essentially boils down to it being damaging to Daniels reputation if anyone denies she had sex with Trump. Secondly, Cohen's February statement of "Just because something isnt true doesnt mean that it cant cause you harm or damage" is (a) not a direct statement that Daniels is lying, since it is to some extent phrased hypothetically, but (b) more importantly, if it is taken as an inferential statement to the effect that "Daniels is lying", it is hard to square that with the facts on the ground at that time - i.e. she had signed a written statement that there had been no affair.
In other words, at best, the defamation claim is "Cohen damaged Daniels reputation by agreeing with her signed statement, which she now disavows." And, remember, this Amended Complaint no longer alleges that statement to have been the product of any duress or threats. There is no claim in Daniels' Amended Complaint which alleges any threats of any kind at any time.
So taking these claims together, the Amended Complaint says:
1. The contract should be void since it amounted to a conspiracy among Daniels Trump and Cohen to keep a crime secret, and
2. It is damaging to Daniels' reputation for people to (a) agree with her signed statement at the time, and (b) claim that she didn't voluntarily have sex with Donald Trump.
Oh, yeah, there was something in the news about some payments being funneled from the UAE to Trump. Probably some really boring news that doesn't involve sex in any way, and involves countries that are hard to find on a map.
I can't really talk about this, but I know somebody who knows somebody in publishing, and they are working on a rush release of Melania Trump - Fast or Fancy Favorites, which is a collection of her favorite recipes from home and the US, and some of her husband's favorites.
The only issue they are having is names for some of the dishes, so they hired an outside creative firm to come up with appropriate names for them.
Some of the folks on that project are just plain old stumped, so they asked me for brainstorming suggestions in this group.
On the flip side, they have some names which they haven't found recipes for, so here's a couple:
Creepy Fingers Crepes
If your NDA causes litigation, stop using your NDA and call your lawyer immediately.
I completely realize that actual failure investigation and analysis to pin down exact failure sequences is not something that is done in a weekend. As an avid reader of NTSB reports on stuff that happened years ago, those things are awesome.
This, however, is an internet discussion forum, and not a thumb-twiddling emporium, so here we are.
I found this video interesting. If you are familiar with the background, you might skip to closer to the end.
I figured this discussion needed a YouTube video with red circles on pictures. That's how you can always tell the good ones.
He was OBLITERATED on Twitter.
And then he got BLASTED on a blog.
But that guy who said that thing on TV was great! He was so smart at saying stuff. So was that lady. Shes brilliant and says smart stuff on TV a lot!
Cant wait till Monday when it all happens again.
And, the best part, is that someone on Twitter said that theres something big brewing AFTER Monday!
I think I know what it is. And if Im right, then after Monday, theres going to be TUESDAY! Hah, Ill bet Trump isnt even expecting that!
After Tuesday is over, hes FINISHED. Until Wednesday at least.
They put up the central span, and opened the street to traffic:
The completed bridge is supposed to look like this:
Page 14. A simple NDA can be done in less than two pages.
As someone who frequently handles subpoena compliance, there are a few things that strike me here.
Often, in a criminal investigation, the subject will be informed that communicating the contents of the subpoena in such a way as to compromise the investigation can constitute a criminal offense.
So, if you are subpoenaed about Joe, then you dont ring up Joe and say Hey, they want to ask me questions about you.
Notice that Nunberg made a number of claims about what is in the subpoena, but didnt provide a copy to any of the news organizations. He did keep mentioning a particular date - November 1, 2015 - but he also said the subpoena was about a date range.
He also made sure that Erin Burnett would smell alcohol, and then said he was taking anti-depressants.
If he wanted to make a point about how broad the subpoena is, why didnt he let anyone else read it, why would he keep mentioning a single date, and why would he behave in a fantastically erratic manner to lead people to believe he was not in control of his faculties?
IMHO, there is a simple answer to all three questions.
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