Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, admitted on Tuesday that he paid $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels weeks before the 2016 presidential election.
“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. The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone,” Cohen told the New York Times.
Daniels allegedly had an affair with Trump in 2006 after the pair met at a golf tournament. She described her liaisons with Trump in detail in a 2011 interview with In Touch that was published this year.
Cohen would not elaborate on the purpose of the payment or say whether or not he discussed the payment with Trump. His statement does not address whether he was reimbursed by Trump personally.
In January, after reports of the payment surfaced in the Wall Street Journal, Cohen released a statement from Stormy Daniels which said “[r]umors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false.”
Cohen released this letter knowing that he, Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, had paid Daniels $130,000.
Prior to an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last month, another statement purportedly from Daniels stated: “I am not denying this affair because I was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids.” On the program, Daniels said she didn’t know anything about the statement. During her interview with Kimmel, she effectively confirmed the existence of a non-disclosure agreement regarding her relationship with Trump.
Cohen disclosed his payment in response to a complaint filed with the Federal Elections Commission by Common Cause. The complaint alleged that Cohen, who set up a private company to make the payment to Daniels, violated election law by making an illegal campaign contribution.
Steve Spaulding, an executive with Common Cause and former Special Counsel at the Federal Election Commission, responded to the story, saying the payment acknowledged by Cohen was illegal if it was made for the purpose of influencing the election.
If made for the purpose of influencing the election—it’s an excessive in-kind contribution and should have been reported. https://t.co/0iBHHj0TbM
— Steve Spaulding (@SteveESpaulding) February 14, 2018
At the time of the payment, Daniels was reportedly in discussions with several media outlets to go public with her story.