In response to charges that a payment of $130,000 to a porno actress to keep her quiet about an affair with Donald Trump before he became President might have been an illegal campaign contribution, the lawyer who made the payment said the funds came out of his own pocket and he was not reimbursed by the Trump campaign or his company.
Michael D. Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer to Trump, admits paying the “hush money” to keep porno star Stephanie Clifford from giving interviews about her relationship with Trump, but refuses to provide details about why he made the payment or if other payments had been made to other women over the years.
“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.”
Cohen, however, would not say if Trump repaid him personally or if there was a pattern of payments to women to keep quiet about any sexual activities by Trump, who has bragged extensively over the years about his sexual conquests.
In response to a complaint from Common Cause to the Federal Election Commission about the payment, Cohen did say:
The complaint alleges that I somehow violated campaign finance laws by facilitating an excess, in-kind contribution. The allegations in the complaint are factually unsupported and without legal merit, and my counsel has submitted a response to the F.E.C.
Cohen made the payment a few weeks before the presidential election day in 2016 and amid controversies of an audio recording of Trump talking about his sex with other women and where he bragged about “grabbing their pussies.”
Although Cohen has claimed Clifford has denied any affair with Trump, she has refused to confirm that denial or refused to provide any details of her relationship that resulted in the payment in 2016.
Another woman who was ready to go public about an affair with Trump, Playboy model Karen McDougal, received an undisclosed sum for her story about it from The National Enquirer but the publisher there is a personal friend of Trump and routinely spikes any story critical of the president.
White House communications director Hope Hicks called report of that affair “totally untrue” but Hicks has been implicated in the current scandal involving the behavior of former staff assistant Rob Porter, who was fired by Chief of Staff John Kelly. Porter’s wife, who reported abuse by Porter to the FBI said he had begun an affair with Hicks after they both went to the White House.
Clifford performs under the name: “Stormy Daniels.”
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