Report: Trump Team Weighs Trying to Block '60 Minutes' Stormy Interview

BuzzFeed is reporting that lawyers for President Donald Trump are contemplating trying to stop 60 Minutes from airing an interview with adult film actress Stormy Daniels about her alleged affair with Trump.

Daniels signed a nondisclosure agreement and received a settlement but is challenging its validity.

Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted the story Monday (March 12):

Trump Lawyers Are Considering A Challenge To "60 Minutes" Airing Of A Stormy Daniels Interview via @chrisgeidner

— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 11, 2018

The story alleges that attorneys "associated with" the President are planning to file an injunction to prevent waht the story said was the planned March 18 airing of the interview, conducted by Anderson Cooper.

A CBS spokserson had no comment on the interview or its status, but after Avenatti let the cat out of the bag by tweeting a picture of Daniels with Cooper, CBS did confirm it had indeed done the interview, though it only said it would air in the upcoming weeks and provided no date for the broadcast.

Trump has threatened to file suits in the past without following through, as BuzzFeed pointed out.

Geroge Washington University law professor John Banzhaf said there is high-profile precedent for such an injunction threat against CBS’s 60 Minutes. He cited the time CBS’s initial decision not to air an interview with former tobacco exec and high-profile whistle-blower Jeffery Wigand given a non-disclosure agreement he had signed with his sployer, Brown & Williamson. Banzhaf was instrumental in getting cigarette ads off broadcast TV.

CBS News, in reporting on that decision not to air the interview in 1995 -- it ultimately aired the next year -- conceded it had been "temporarily quashed" by CBS corporate executives, a decision by the CBS legal department, for fear of a multi-billion lawsuit. 60 Minutes executive producer Jeffrey Fager -- at the time executive producer of CBS Evening News -- calls it a low point in the network's history and a decision made "under incredible pressure from the corporation."

A CBS spokesperson was unavailable for comment at press time on the status of the broadcast.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.