Stormy Daniels Raises a Million Dollars on GoFundMe After Going on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC Show, Claiming Trump Wants To Bankrupt Her

The porn star’s former lawyer, Michael Avenatti, claimed from prison that she’s a “grifter” who’s made millions monetizing her alleged sexual encounter with President Trump.

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The adult film star Stormy Daniels discusses with the MSNBC star Rachel Maddow what she says are her financial woes. MSNBC

The adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, raised over a million dollars in a week through a GoFundMe campaign after she appeared on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show and said President Trump’s lawyers are coming after her house and her daughter. 

During the segment, which aired on MSNBC last Tuesday, Ms. Maddow said that in preparation for the interview MSNBC had learned that “the confrontation with Trump” has put Ms. Clifford in “fairly dire financial circumstances.” Ms. Maddow told her audience that Ms. Clifford recently asked her former manager, Dwayne Crawford, who also identifies himself as Ms. Clifford’s assistant, “to open an emergency GoFundMe campaign to try to pay the attorney fees that she has incurred and as she tries to hold on to her house,” Ms. Maddow said.  

MSNBC showed a screenshot of the GoFundMe page, which is titled “I Stand with Stormy Daniels #WeAreAllStormy.” On Tuesday evening, according to the screenshot, the campaign had raised $1,050 of the one million dollar goal. When the Sun checked on Monday the amount had risen to $1,015,968, listing 19,200 donations and the goal amount had been adjusted to $1,250,000.    

The interview with Ms. Maddow was the second time Ms. Clifford spoke to the media after Trump’s historic conviction in his recent New York criminal trial. She gave her first post-conviction videotaped interview to a UK tabloid, the Daily Mirror, in early June, as the Sun reported, during which she told the Mirror’s U.S. editor, Christopher Bucktin, that the best punishment for Trump would be no more golfing (she also said she thought the 45th president should be incarcerated). Ms. Clifford may have selected the Mirror since British tabloids will pay for interviews.

President Trump appears in court for his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 at New York City. Steven Hirsch-Pool/Getty Images

Ms. Clifford, 45, was a key witness in the hush-money case successfully brought against Trump by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, who charged Trump with falsification of business records in a scheme to interfere with the 2016 election. At the heart of the case was a $130,000 hush-money payment that Trump ordered his former personal lawyer and current archenemy, Michael Cohen, to pay Ms. Clifford on the eve of the 2016 presidential election in return for a signed non-disclosure agreement that would prevent her from publicizing and further monetizing on her claim that she had a one-time sexual encounter with Trump during a celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe in 2006. The prosecution alleged that when Trump reimbursed Cohen for the hush-money, he falsely categorized the payments as legal expenses. Trump has denied the allegations, and said he never had sex with Ms. Clifford. During the June debate, he repeated his assertion that “I didn’t have sex with a porn star.”

Since Trump’s conviction, Ms. Clifford told Ms. Maddow, the threats by strangers against her have spiraled out of control. She has received messages warning “they were going to rape everybody in my family, including my young daughter, before they killed them,” Ms. Clifford said. She also claims she was doxxed, meaning her home address was made public.    

“My mailbox was destroyed. My animals have been injured,” said Ms. Clifford, a horse owner. “My daughter can’t go outside because there’s press and looky-loos out there. I’m afraid to go outside. I’m afraid to go out and mow the lawn.” Ms. Clifford went on to tell Ms. Maddow that “the death threats are so much more graphic and detailed and brazen, like people don’t care, and it’s scary.”

Ms. Clifford’s fundraising organizer, former manager and assistant, Mr. Crawford, who is based in Los Angeles, wrote on the page for the campaign that “Stormy needs help to relocate her family to somewhere they can feel safe and live life on their terms… Since the verdict was announced on May 30, 2024, she’s received countless death threats… Her horses have been shot twice now by protesters…” 

Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels (L) and her fourth husband, the adult film actor/director Barrett Blade, attend the 2023 Adult Video News Awards at Resorts World Las Vegas on January 07, 2023 at Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

During her appearance on MSNBC, Ms. Clifford did not elaborate on the injuries she and Mr. Crawford claim were done to her horses.

On the GoFundMe page, Mr. Crawford then detailed that the money was also urgently needed to pay off “a $600,000 judgment against Stormy for Trump’s legal fees from a case that was dismissed.” 

The lawsuit to which Mr. Crawford referred is not legally connected to the New York hush-money trial but stems from the same alleged sexual-encounter between Ms. Clifford and Trump at Lake Tahoe in 2006.  

In 2018, Ms. Clifford filed a civil defamation lawsuit against Trump, specifically taking aim at a tweet he made attacking her claim of being threatened by a stranger, in a parking lot in Las Vegas in 2011, to stay quiet on her Trump story. This came after Ms. Clifford had sold her story to the celebrity glossy InTouch, where she said “I can describe his junk perfectly.” 

The actress Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, performs at the Solid Gold Fort Lauderdale strip club on March 9, 2018 in Pompano Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In his 2018 tweet, Trump called Ms. Clifford a “con job, playing the Fake News Media.”     

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying Trump’s tweet constitutes “’rhetorical hyperbole’ normally associated with politics and public discourse” and is protected by the First Amendment. Ms. Clifford tried to appeal the decision in 2022, arguing that her former attorney Michael Avenatti had filed the defamation suit “without my permission and against my wishes.” A federal judge ruled against her, leaving her to pay nearly $300,000 in Trump’s legal fees. Ms. Clifford then filed a motion to lower the fee payment, but was denied again. As of now the fees she owes Trump have risen to $600,000, according to Ms. Maddow and the GoFundMe campaign.        

When Ms. Maddow asked Ms. Clifford if she had any means of paying that, she answered that she did not, and that Trump’s attorneys were “trying to take my partner’s house,” referring to her fourth husband, the porn star Barrett Blade, whose legal name is Russell Barrett. 

Ms. Clifford further explained that she does not own the house. “My name is not on the title, so they’re trying to take his house,” she said.  

Michael Cohen leaves his apartment building on his way to Manhattan criminal court, May 13, 2024, at New York. AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File

But most troubling to Ms. Clifford was a recent discovery document, which  demanded personal information about her 13 year-old daughter, who she shares with her third husband, the porn star Brendon Miller, whose legal name is Glendon Crain. Ms. Clifford married Mr. Crain in 2015 and they divorced two years later.

“I refused to fill out the form,” Ms. Clifford told Ms. Maddow. “Where she lives, her legal name, her date of birth. Like why do you need that about a child? So I didn’t fill out that part of the form and left it blank.” 

If Ms. Clifford is correct about the discovery document, it’s possible Trump’s attorneys are seeking to show she is diverting income to her daughter to avoid garnishment.

As a result of her refusal to fill out the form, Ms. Clifford went on to explain, Trump’s attorneys rejected the form and demanded that Ms. Clifford be held in contempt of court with sanctions. 

“I have to pay $600,000 plus sanctions and be in contempt of court, which comes with a warrant possibly,” she said. 

Copies of adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels’ book “Full Disclosure” are displayed during a signing at the 2019 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 26, 2019 at Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

“An arrest warrant?” Ms. Maddow asked, and Ms. Clifford confirmed that she could potentially be imprisoned if she refuses to comply with court orders.  She added that she will go to prison if need be to protect her daughter’s safety.

On the GoFundMe website, Ms. Clifford’s former manager, Mr. Crawford, wrote that such “information is not only a violation of a child’s privacy but has the potential of becoming very real and immediate danger.” He added that, “No mother should be forced to choose between protecting her innocent child and being held in contempt of court.” 

The writer, E. Jean Carroll, who sued Trump twice for defamation and for rape, and won a total of $88 million in two her two civil trials, wrote on her X account on Tuesday night that “I’d be happy to help!!” 

Ms. Carroll won the enormous judgment, which she has yet to collect, because Trump has appealed the verdict, by suing Trump for calling her “a total con job,” the same imprecation Trump called Ms. Clifford, leading to her unsuccessful lawsuit and large legal bill.

Stormy Daniels arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 09, 2024 at New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Avenatti, who is currently serving a 14 year prison sentence after being convicted of extortion and stealing millions of dollars from his clients, wrote on his X account that “Stormy Daniels is not now, nor has she ever been, a ‘victim’ of President Trump. Her new claims, made as part of her GoFundMe grift, are complete bullshit.” 

“Daniels has made millions over the last 8 yrs based on Trump,” Avenatti added, “But instead of paying her bills, she blew her money on trips to Europe, private jets, etc. (check her posts), all while hiding income from her creditors. Now she wants others to bail her out.” 

Avenatti, who was once Ms. Clifford’s attorney, was also convicted and imprisoned (before his current sentence) for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Ms. Clifford’s book deal. The New York Post reported that Avenatti, who is not allowed to use social media in prison, has email access and can get messages out to a friend, who then posts them on Avenatti’s X account. 

Ms. Clifford insists that she has not made millions, instead she has lost money. “I’ve lost a lot more than I’ve made,” she said during the MSNBC interview. “Mostly my peace, mostly my daughter’s privacy, and time, time I’ll never get back with her.”  

Stormy Daniels testifies on the witness stand as a promotional image for one of her shows featuring an image of Trump is displayed on monitors in Manhattan criminal court, Thursday, May 9, 2024, at New York. Elizabeth Williams via AP

It is difficult to know who’s telling the truth about Ms Clifford’s success in monetizing her encounter with Trump. She went on a Trump-themed stripping tour called “Make America Horny Again”. She also published a best-selling book, in which she described her alleged sexual encounter in graphic detail, and she is popular on OnlyFans, which yield significant income for its creators. Trump attorneys believe she was compensated for various interviews including her participation in a recent NBCUniversal documentary on the Peacock streaming channel, but the Sun has not been able to verify that she was paid any specific amounts. 

The GoFundMe campaign should now resolve her legal debt to Trump. Though Ms. Clifford told Ms. Maddow, she doesn’t think she should pay him. “It’s not fair,” Ms. Clifford said on Tuesday. “The things they found him guilty of,” she added later, referring to Trump, “I also have to pay?” 

“Even if I had the money, even if I had billions, it’s not fair. Why do I have to pay it? And I am so happy for E. Jean Carroll,” she said referring to the writer who won her lawsuit against Trump in New York, “but literally the same three sentences – liar, whack job, con job – she gets over 80 million and it’s gonna cost me over $600,000 and it’s gonna cost my partner’s house? And it’s gonna cost my daughter her privacy for the rest of her life? It’s not fair,” Ms. Clifford said, raising her voice.  

Time will tell if she will use the GoFundMe money to pay Trump the $600,000 she’s been ordered to pay him. Trump and his legal team are determined to get it.    


The New York Sun

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