Trump's campaign has paid more than $90K this year to the law firm of Charles Harder, the attorney representing the president in the Stormy Daniels' case. He's best known for the Peter Thiel-funded lawsuit that killed Gawker— Fredreka Schouten (@fschouten) April 15, 2018
President Donald Trump's re-election campaign reportedly paid $93,000 to Charles Harder’s firm. The Beverly Hills lawyer is representing Trump in his recent legal battles with adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Trump’s campaign reportedly spent a massive amount of around $835,000 this year on legal fees. The campaign accumulated around $10.1 million this year. But a huge chunk of Trump’s campaign cash was given to Harder in the first two months of 2018 to reportedly protect Trump from the Stormy Daniels lawsuit.
According to the campaign’s quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission, Harder’s firm, Harder LLP, received $25,000 on Jan. 4, and then $68,181.25 on Feb. 22.
How much of the money was contributed as a part of Trump’s continued effort to silence Stormy Daniels is still not clear.
According to Paul Ryan, a lawyer for the group Common Cause, the money could have been given to Harder for other work he did for the president, including an attempt to halt the publication of the book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
Harder is a very controversial lawyer who is best known for silencing the media. He has been accused of threatening journalists in the past. He also represented Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel against Gawker Media.
Hogan and Thiel won $140 million from the suit and bankrupted Gawker.
Harder was also hired by Melania Trump to help her sue the Daily Mail for publishing a story that alleged she had once been an escort, which led to the publication issuing an immediate retraction.
According to Ryan, campaigns don’t have the permission to spend money to benefit a candidate personally. However, expenses that would not exist if the person was not a candidate or officeholder are generally permitted.
By that standard, paying Harder to halt the release of an embarrassing book would likely be permitted.
Soon after, Daniels accused Trump of having an affair with her, the administration’s focus shifted towards the cover-up instead of the affair. Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen reportedly paid $130,000 as "hush money" payout to Daniels back in 2016. Daniels is now suing to set herself free of the confidentiality agreement and speak about Trump.
A Republican close to Trump, who wanted to stay anonymous, said he understands the logic of treating the original nondisclosure agreement Daniels signed one way and the methods to get them implemented in another way.
“I can see as how they could construe it as a re-election issue. And I can see how they would construe the NDA as not an election issue,” he said. “But I’m not so sanguine about the believability of that.”
Harder and Trump did not respond to requests for comment.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Getty Images, Gerardo Mora