Brooklyn Law School hosts Stormy Daniels interview watch party, panel discussion
"60 Minutes" interview emerges as nation's hottest topic
More than 20 million people watched the interview with porn star Stormy Daniels regarding her alleged extramarital affair with President Donald Trump on “60 Minutes” Sunday night, including about 60 professors and law school students who gathered together for a watch party at Brooklyn Law School (BLS).
BLS Dean Nicholas Allard felt that the interview between Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and Anderson Cooper had potential to be the biggest of the decade so he gathered the students as well as a panel consisting of professors Heidi Brown and Minna Kotkin, as well as alumni Harriet Cohen, for a discussion on the legal implications of the porn stars claims.
“Who says law school has to be boring,” Allard joked. Following the interview, Allard reiterated a prediction that he has made for a while — that this could lead to action to remove Trump from office.
“I think that we’re going to get to a resolution one way or another by June 30,” Allard said. “That’s the last point where the Republican Party can take action that will have a possible impact of averting a tidal wave in November.”
Prior to the interview, the professors discussed the legal implications involved and explained that this might not go away easily for the president.
“The thing about litigation is that it has a life of its own,” Kotkin said. “You can’t just ignore it or tweet around it.”
The biggest issue they saw was with the confidentiality contract between Daniels and Trump because it was filled with mistakes and could potentially be unenforceable.
“[Trump’s lawyer] Michael Cohen is a person of excellent education, he studied hard and is probably a very good lawyer, but if he drafted this contract as a student, he could not have possibly passed contracts at BLS,” said Cohen, who has no relation to Trump’s lawyer. “A first-year associate with me would have lost their job with me immediately if they had given me this contract as a first draft.”
Worse than just being sloppy — the contract was not signed by David Dennison (the supposed alias Trump used).
“On enforceability in general, it actually says that the document is enforceable when signed by all parties and there is a mysterious giant line with no name on it and then instead of the DD initials on each page it says EC, the other party Essential Consultants LLC.”
Kotkin pointed out that one of the ways to legally break such a contract would be because of duress and wondered if Daniels could make that claim after she said that Trump sent people to intimidate her at one point.
The interview raised more questions than it provided answers for regarding Trump, but everyone on the panel and Dean Allard all agreed that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, could be facing serious ethics charges.
The Confidential Settlement Agreement allegedly paid off Daniels $130,000 for her silence, which could be a violation of campaign finance laws as it was undisclosed and benefitted Trump’s campaign. However, Cohen claims that he paid the money without Trump’s knowledge which leads to an ethical issue.
“We have a responsibility to confer with our client before we make a settlement, before we pay money, so there is a fundamental flaw because Donald Trump said he didn’t know anything about this settlement, nobody told me, he said, well then Michael Cohen has very serious ethics issues based on the fact that he didn’t confer with his client, he didn’t get his clients permission, it’s redacted all over, it’s not signed,” Harriet Cohen said. “…Did he or didn’t he have his clients consent?”
When Allard asked Cohen, who is a highly renowned matrimonial lawyer who has represented Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one of Harvey Weinstein’s ex-wives and NBA star Paul George, about a potential divorce between Trump and first lady Melania Trump, she said she would have to see the prenuptial agreement before commenting.
“[Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis] didn’t leave [John F. Kennedy], and [Ladybird Johnson] didn’t leave [Lyndon B. Johnson], [Hillary Clinton] didn’t leave [Bill Clinton] … now we have this tonight with the wife watching … we’ll have to see what this particular presidential wife says,” Harriet Cohen said. “I think from the point of view from the wives of these males who have been president, it’s just business as usual.”
Finally, the night wouldn’t be complete without some mention of the Russia investigation regarding Trump. While there was no direct correlation, Allard pointed out that Daniels’ interview shows the lengths that Trump’s team will go to [in order to] avoid embarrassment.
“With Miss Daniels, you see how far the president’s men, and they are men, will go to avoid disclosure of embarrassing information,” Allard said. “… whether it’s financial or sexual or otherwise, embarrassing material is one of the plausible explanations among the unfathomable reasons why Mr. Trump has not uttered a critical word about Mr. Putin and Russia given everything that has gone on there.
“My takeaway? It’s Mueller time,” Allard said with a grin.