This story was updated at 4:55 p.m. to include a comment from the notary’s attorney.
Texas authorities have suspended a suburban Dallas notary for botching her role in Stormy Daniels’ agreement to stay silent about her alleged affair with President Donald Trump.
The disciplinary action faults the Forney notary for not properly witnessing and documenting the porn star’s’ signature on the agreement struck with Trump’s personal attorney just days before the presidential election, according to records obtained Wednesday by The Dallas Morning News.
But the Texas Secretary of State office said the notary’s sloppy work has no bearing on the legal validity of the hush-money deal, which is under intense scrutiny by U.S. prosecutors investigating Trump and his attorney, Michael Cohen. And none of the case records obtained by The News reflect any efforts by Cohen or Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, to intervene or seek records in the matter.
The order, issued in August, ends one of the more arcane investigations surrounding the non-disclosure agreement. It has been challenged in court by Daniels of Forney, east of Dallas. Her real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Notaries act as third-party witnesses who verify the identities of people signing legal documents. The News reported in March that the secretary of state’s office was investigating whether Erica Jackson correctly signed off on the papers. She attached her seal to the documentation but did not complete certificates detailing the identity of the signer, the date and the location, officials said.
Jackson said that she notarized the documents properly, and hired Craig Watkins, the former Dallas district attorney, to represent her in the matter.
In an affidavit submitted to the state, Jackson said, “As a notary, it has been a consistent practice of mine to adequately document the identification of the person whose signature I have notarized, as required by law.’’
But state officials found Jackson had improperly notarized documents in other cases, in violation of state rules. Last month, as part of the settlement with the state, she agreed to undergo training and testing during the three-month suspension of her commission.
Watkins told The News on Thursday that it’s important for the public to know that his client did her job in actually verifying the identity of Daniels. In reaching an agreement with the secretary of state, Jackson wanted to avoid being part of this “whole circus” involving Trump, he said.
Daniels has sued Trump in California, alleging the pact is invalid because Trump never signed the original nondisclosure agreement. She has said she had an “intimate relationship” with Trump after meeting him in 2006 at Lake Tahoe, Calif. It was a relationship, her lawsuit states, that continued into 2007.
Until last spring, Trump had denied knowledge of his attorney’s payment to Daniels.
Cohen said in court that Trump directed him to arrange payments to Daniels and another woman during the 2016 campaign to keep them from speaking publicly about affairs they said they had with Trump. Cohen also has pleaded guilty to tax evasion and bank fraud.
Credit to Dallas News