For the first time, Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer has publicly confirmed he gave a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) in October 2016. But Michael D. Cohen insists neither the president nor his 2016 campaign had anything to do with the transaction.
“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 provided to The New York Times. Cohen said that the payment “was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”
Cohen told the Times that he gave a similar statement to the Federal Election Commission in response to a complaint filed by Common Cause, a government watchdog group.
Cohen did not disclose what the payment, which he called a “private transaction,” was actually for. But in January, the Wall Street Journal reported that the $130,000 was given to Daniels as part of an agreement to prevent her from going public about “an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.”
Cohen said at the time that Daniels denied an affair took place. Daniels did not make a public statement of her own, but just days later, a 2011 interview she gave to In Touch Weekly, in which she discussed having an affair with Trump in graphic detail, resurfaced online.
On Jan. 30, Cohen released a statement in Daniels’ name that expressly denied the affair. However, Daniels has so far never denied the affair publicly, and most notably, during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” she refused to either confirm or deny the affair, or even that she had earlier denied the affair.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests from TheWrap for comment. Representatives for Stormy Daniels also did not immediately respond.