Trump’s longtime lawyer says he paid Stormy Daniels out of his own pocket

US President Donald Trump, pictured at the House of Representatives last year in Washington. Jim Lo Scalzo/AFP
US President Donald Trump, pictured at the House of Representatives last year in Washington. Jim Lo Scalzo/AFP

Trump’s longtime lawyer says he paid Stormy Daniels out of his own pocket

by Maggie Haberman

Michael D. Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, said Tuesday that he paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to a pornographic-film actress who had once claimed to have had an affair with Trump.

In the most detailed explanation of the 2016 payment made to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, Cohen, who worked as a counsel to the Trump Organization for more than a decade, said he was not reimbursed for the payment.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen said in a statement to The New York Times. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

He declined to answer several follow-up questions, including whether Trump had been aware that he made the payment, why he made the payment or whether he had made similar payments to other people over the years.

Cohen has previously said that Trump has denied an affair with Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels.

Cohen’s statement about what he called “a private transaction” was the first time that he has acknowledged a role in the payment, which was first reported in January by The Wall Street Journal.

Cohen said that he had given a similar statement to the Federal Election Commission in response to a complaint filed by the government watchdog group Common Cause, which filed a complaint saying that the payment, which was made through a limited liability company that Cohen established, was an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign.

Officials with Common Cause also sought to determine whether the payment was made by the Trump Organization or another person.

“The complaint alleges that I somehow violated campaign finance laws by facilitating an excess, in-kind contribution,” Cohen said in his statement. “The allegations in the complaint are factually unsupported and without legal merit, and my counsel has submitted a response to the FEC.”

He said he would not make any additional comments about the commission complaint “or regarding Ms. Clifford.”

Cohen was among Trump’s fiercest defenders during his time at the Trump Organization, often telling reporters during the 2016 presidential campaign that even false information about Trump could be damaging if printed. Clifford had told her story to the magazine In Touch in 2011, as well as the gossip website TheDirty.com. Both accounts were published last month after the report of the 2016 payment.

In fall 2016, Clifford was once again in discussion with news outlets, this time more mainstream. The payment from Cohen to Clifford reportedly came a few weeks before Election Day.

Clifford has not publicly denied an affair with Trump. A statement released by Cohen in her name in January denied an affair, but in interviews, she has refused to directly answer questions about it.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Western poll flak is ‘pressure to take the Kingdom hostage’

    After last month’s national elections brought praise for the orderly manner they were run and managed, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed criticism from the West as a “violation of the Kingdom’s independence”. He said the attitude of