President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen may have broken the law when he admitted to paying off an adult film actress who allegedly had an affair with the chief executive several years ago, before Trump formally entered politics.
Stephanie Clifford, known by her stage name as Stormy Daniels, was paid $130,000 by Cohen weeks before Election Day 2016, allegedly to stay quiet about an affair she had with Trump in 2006. Daniels has so far denied the tryst even happened, but apparently gave an interview in 2011 confirming the two had slept together.
Cohen admitted earlier this week to paying Daniels the $130,000 out of his own pocket, and denied it had anything to do with Trump’s relationship with her. The admission, however, could still land Trump in some serious legal trouble.
The situation is similar to what happened to former U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who allegedly accepted campaign funds in excess to legal contribution limits in order to conceal an extramarital affair he was having. Although he was never successfully convicted, it’s possible that Trump could face the same situation and be charged with the same conspiracy and campaign fraud charges that Edwards faced.
Whatever happens, very few are believing Cohen’s story that he paid Daniels for a reason other than to conceal an affair with Trump. And now that he’s admitted to making the payment, Daniels may be able to speak out about the entire situation without fear of legal retaliation — the adult actress has reportedly suggested to some close to her that Cohen breached their contract, allowing her to discuss the terms (and what led to the payoff) openly without repercussions.
President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen finally admitted paying hush money to Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who allegedly had an affair with the commander-in-chief in 2006 after she met him at a golf tournament.
The payment, which the lawyer previously denied, was apparently made shortly before the 2016 election. Moreover, Cohen he claimed he paid for it out of his own pocket — because people in the Trump administration will apparently go to any lengths to protect the self-confessed groper.
“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 told The New York Times. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”
Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported the attorney had paid Daniels $130,000 so she would stay mum about a rendezvous she had with Trump about 10 years ago. Cohen was accused of setting up a phony company in order to cover up the hefty payments. However, at the time, not only did he refute the claims, the Trump lawyer also shared an image of an undated letter, allegedly signed by the actress, saying she never received any money from the president or his people.
So, if Cohen is to be believed now, why did he release that letter in the first place when he had himself made the payment, as he claims?
“The complaint alleges that I somehow violated campaign finance laws by facilitating an excess, in-kind contribution,” Cohen added in his recent statement. “The allegations in the complaint are factually unsupported and without legal merit, and my counsel has submitted a response to the F.E.C.”
He didn’t clarify the reason he paid her.
Daniels sat down with InTouch magazine in 2011 for an interview that was only recently published in its entirety. Speaking to the magazine, the adult movie star not only admitted to the affair, but also added she and Trump met several times after their first encounter.
Shortly before Daniels appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” last month, another statement of denial surfaced from the actress that basically said the reported affair “never happened.” However, Daniels said she had never seen it before and essentially confirmed the presence of a non-disclosure agreement.
Michael Cohen doesn't seem like a very good lawyer— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) February 14, 2018
Sarah Sanders on Wednesday: The president doesn’t ever recall having an attorney named Michael Cohen, and even if he did, that would be attorney client privilege.— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) February 14, 2018
I’m sitting here trying to figure out how the WH is explaining Porter, Russia Sanctions, attempts to fire Mueller, and, and, and, and, and, then out of no where Michael Cohen throws a wrench into everything admitting he paid Stormy Daniels $130,000. What in the hell is going on.— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) February 14, 2018
If you believe Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels out of his own pocket...— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) February 14, 2018
...no. Not even going to finish that sentence. Too depressing to imagine anyone anywhere is falling for any of this.
Every part of this presidency is depressing and stupid and exhausting and stupid again.
Maybe Michael Cohen can pay off my student loans since he’s just giving money away for no specific reason whatsoever. pic.twitter.com/0HEdHdbqim— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) February 14, 2018
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Stephanie Keith
Banner Credits: Reuters, Stephanie Keith/Danny Moloshok