Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime private lawyer, mentioned on Tuesday that he paid $130,000 out of his personal pocket to a pornographic-film actress who had as soon as claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump.
In essentially the most detailed rationalization of the 2016 fee made to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, Mr. Cohen, who labored as a counsel to the Trump Group for greater than a decade, mentioned he was not reimbursed for the fee.
“Neither the Trump Group nor the Trump marketing campaign was a celebration to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the fee, both instantly or not directly,” Mr. Cohen mentioned in a press release to The New York Instances. “The fee to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a marketing campaign contribution or a marketing campaign expenditure by anybody.”
He declined to reply a number of follow-up questions, together with whether or not Mr. Trump had been conscious that he made the fee, why he made the fee or whether or not he had made comparable funds to different individuals over time.
Mr. Cohen has beforehand mentioned that Mr. Trump has denied an affair with Ms. Clifford, whose stage identify is Stormy Daniels.
Mr. Cohen’s assertion about what he known as “a personal transaction” was the primary time that he has acknowledged a task within the fee, which was first reported in January by The Wall Avenue Journal.
Mr. Cohen mentioned that he had given the same assertion to the Federal Election Fee in response to a criticism filed by the federal government watchdog group Frequent Trigger, which filed a criticism saying that the fee, which was made via a restricted legal responsibility firm that Mr. Cohen established, was an in-kind contribution to the Trump marketing campaign.
Officers with Frequent Trigger additionally sought to find out whether or not the fee was made by the Trump Group or one other particular person.
“The criticism alleges that I someway violated marketing campaign finance legal guidelines by facilitating an extra, in-kind contribution,” Mr. Cohen mentioned in his assertion. “The allegations within the criticism are factually unsupported and with out authorized benefit, and my counsel has submitted a response to the F.E.C.”
He mentioned he wouldn’t make any further feedback in regards to the fee criticism “or relating to Ms. Clifford.”
Mr. Cohen was amongst Mr. Trump’s fiercest defenders throughout his time on the Trump Group, typically telling reporters throughout the 2016 presidential marketing campaign that even false details about Mr. Trump could possibly be damaging if printed. Ms. Clifford had instructed her story to the journal In Contact in 2011, in addition to the gossip web site TheDirty.com. Each accounts had been revealed final month after the report of the 2016 fee.
In fall 2016, Ms. Clifford was as soon as once more in dialogue with information shops, this time extra mainstream. The fee from Mr. Cohen to Ms. Clifford reportedly got here just a few weeks earlier than Election Day.
Ms. Clifford has not publicly denied an affair with Mr. Trump. A press release launched by Mr. Cohen in her identify in January denied an affair, however in interviews, she has refused to instantly reply questions on it.