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Stormy Daniels starts crowdfunding campaign to pay for lawsuit against Trump

Kevin Breuninger
Daniels wants to restart a defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen, which recently was put on ice because of a pending federal criminal probe of Cohen.

Former porn star Stormy Daniels launched a crowdfunding campaign on Wednesday to pay for a lawsuit against President Donald Trump .

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, said donations will be used to pay her attorneys' fees and other costs related the suit filed on March 6. It seeks to void a non-disclosure agreement that prevents her from speaking publicly about her alleged affair with Trump between the summer of 2006 and 2007.

Since the agreement was never signed by Trump himself, she argues that it is unenforceable.

Trump's personal lawyer paid Daniels $130,000 in October 2016, weeks prior to the 2016 election, as part of the nondisclosure pact. The lawyer, Michael Cohen, later said that he made the payment with his own money using a personal home equity credit line.

The payment was delivered through an LLC set up by Cohen shortly beforehand. Daniels and Trump were referred to by the respective pseudonyms "Peggy Peterson" and "David Dennison."

Trump has denied the relationship ever took place.

But at a White House briefing last week, press secretary Sarah Sanders said that an arbitration related to the nondisclosure agreement was decided "in the president's favor," linking him directly to the case.

The campaign is being hosted by crowdjustice.com, which allows parties involved in legal action to raise money for lawsuits and other legal proceedings. Daniels said her lawsuit is part of an attempt "to speak honestly and openly to the American people about my relationship with now President Donald Trump and the intimidation and tactics used against me."

Daniels, in a statement posted on her crowdfunding page, called the arbitration proceeding a "bogus" attempt to hide the facts. Trump and Cohen "have threatened me with millions of dollars in damages ($1M each time I speak out) if I tell the truth about what happened," she added.

The campaign launched Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET, Clifford's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told CNBC. He said there is no minimum target amount for the campaign which will last 30 days.

Pledges ranged from as little as $5 to as much as $500, and many were accompanied by comments encouraging Daniels to "get him" or "keep up the fight" in her lawsuit. By about 6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the campaign had raised more than $40,000 from 1,463 people.

The White House and lawyers for Cohen did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.