On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney and self-styled “fixer,” negotiated a deal to pay $1.6 million to a Playboy Playmate in exchange for her silence about an affair she had with a major Trump fundraiser.
The rainmaker in question, Elliott Broidy, is a deputy finance chairman for the RNC who recently organized a fundraiser for Trump in Los Angeles, acknowledged the affair. Broidy said he impregnated the woman but that she decided to terminate the pregnancy.
Cohen had never represented Broidy previously. In a statement, Broidy said that he retained Cohen after Cohen was contacted by the woman’s attorney, Keith Davidson.
If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Davidson also represented two women who say they had affairs with Trump, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
Both Daniels and McDougal now suggest that Davidson, under the pretense of representing their interests, was actually acting on the behalf of Cohen and Trump.
The three women have no known connection. The fact that Davidson represented all of them could be a coincidence. Or, it could be evidence of a corrupt scheme to silence women.
Cohen has acknowledged that he has referred clients to Davidson. This month, CNN reported that Cohen “gave [Davidson’s] name to entertainment executive and Trump associate Chuck LaBella.” At the time, Tom Arnold had tweeted that LaBella “has all the dirt” on Trump. LaBella denied that Davidson ever formally represented him.
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that he found the relationship between Cohen and Davidson to be disturbing.
“As more evidence comes to light relating to his close personal relationship with Michael Cohen and his efforts to protect Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump at the expense of his clients, we grow increasingly disturbed. … Mr. Davidson has no business doing Mr. Cohen’s bidding for him,” Avenatti said.
McDougal has attacked Davidson’s conduct more directly. She alleges in her lawsuit that Davidson was secretly conspiring with Trump representatives.
She hired entertainment lawyer Keith Davidson, who assured her that the rights to publish her story were worth millions. Unknown to Ms. McDougal, Mr. Davidson was working closely with representatives for Mr. Trump while pretending to advocate on her behalf.
McDougal alleges that Davidson made material misrepresentations to her in order to induce her to sign the contract.
AMI and Mr. Davidson failed to tell Ms. McDougal that the contract’s fine print did not actually obligate AMI to run her columns—the central feature of AMI’s promise to create ongoing positive exposure for Ms. McDougal. AMI and Mr. Davidson also failed to mention that they were secretly negotiating deals with other women to kill negative stories for Mr. Trump.
McDougal says she was ultimately pressured by Davidson “into signing the contract within hours of receiving it, even though she had made clear in emails and on Skype that she could not make sense of important aspects of the contract.”
Davidson has had his law license suspended twice for violating his legal and ethical responsibilities as a lawyer. In the most serious instance, his license was suspended for two years for a variety of infractions — including not showing up for a hearing and mismanaging client funds.
Davidson told CNN that “he was contacted in recent weeks by Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who encouraged him to go out and reveal what he knew about his clients and their agreements.” Davidson he decided against it after “he consulted with an ethics attorney.”
He did acknowledge communicating with Cohen about the deal he struck on behalf of McDougal.
“I’m sort of in the secret business,” he said.
In 2012, Davidson was “he was detained by FBI agents in a sting” related to a Hulk Hogan sex tape. He was ultimately not arrested or charged.