Trump attorney seeks to force porn star Stormy Daniels' lawsuit into arbitration

April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer asked a federal judge on Monday to force adult film star Stormy Daniels to use arbitration to settle a dispute over an agreement to keep quiet about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, last month sued Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, to be released from the non-disclosure agreement she signed in October 2016 in exchange for $130,000.

The White House has denied that Trump had sex with Daniels. Cohen has said he paid Daniels out of his own pocket.

In Monday's court filing in Los Angeles, Brent Blakely, Cohen's attorney, argued the agreement included a provision that any disputes over it be settled through arbitration, as opposed to open court.

Federal law "dictates that this motion be granted, and that Clifford be compelled to arbitration, as she knowingly and voluntarily agreed to do," Blakely wrote.

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What Stormy Daniels has said about her affair with Trump
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What Stormy Daniels has said about her affair with Trump

She says: In Touch never paid her for her story

Daniels says she was never paid the $15,000 she was originally offered by In Touch for the story of her alleged affair with Trump.

She says: Her sexual encounter with Trump was consensual

Daniels had said during the "60 Minutes" interview that she didn't want to have sex with Trump – but when asked by Anderson Cooper if the encounter with Trump was consensual, the adult film star responded affirmatively, saying, "yes, yes."

She says: Trump's lawyer threatened her and her daughter

As she detailed the aftermath of the alleged affair, Stormy Daniels -- whose real name is Stephanie Clifford -- described a moment in a Las Vegas parking lot when a man threatened her:

"And a guy walked up on me and said to me, 'Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.' 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."

She says: Trump compared her to Ivanka

"He was like, 'Wow, you — you are special. You remind me of my daughter,'" Daniels told "60 Minutes." "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 says: Trump "brushed aside" his relationship with Melania

When asked by Anderson Cooper about Trump's marriage to Melania Trump, Daniels said Trump "brushed aside" any concern surrounding his marital vows. She said he spoke of his marriage to Daniels, saying:

"Oh yeah, yeah, you know, don’t worry about that. We don’t even—we have separate rooms and stuff."

She says: She spanked Trump with a magazine with Trump on the cover

Stormy Daniels confirmed in her "60 Minutes" interview the earlier report that she had spanked Trump with a magazine featuring himself on the cover.

She says: She was paid $130,000 in hush money

Michael Cohen has confirmed that he paid Stephanie Clifford $130,000 11 days before the 2016 election. A former chairman of the Federal Election Commission has since said this payment may have been illegal.

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Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, said the matter should be settled in open court.

"We will vigorously oppose the just-filed motion by Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen to have this case decided in a secret arbitration, in a private conference room, purposely hidden from the American public," Avenatti said in a statement.

Last week, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero ruled that a request by Daniels to depose Trump and Cohen was premature because they had yet to formally request that she arbitrate her claims.

Avenatti has argued that the non-disclosure agreement is invalid because Trump never signed it. But in Monday's filing Blakely responded that the language of the agreement did not specify that Trump, using the pseudonym David Dennison, needed to sign it for the agreement to be binding.

Blakely also argued that Daniels accepted the $130,000 and did not dispute the agreement for 16 months even though Trump had not signed it.

Daniels has said she and Trump had sex once in 2006 but that they kept in touch for a period of time.

A former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, has described having a 10-month affair with Trump starting the same year, which the White House has said Trump denies. Trump was married to his wife Melania at the time. (Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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