In the first public acknowledgement of a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is now saying that the payment came out of his own pocket. The payment was connected to an alleged 2006 affair between Trump and Daniels that is said to have occurred shortly after the president’s wife, Melania Trump, gave birth to their son, Barron.
Speaking to the New York Times, Cohen explained that the “private transaction” conducted through an LLC registered by Cohen was “lawful” and that he had not been reimbursed for the payment. “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,” said Cohen, adding, “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”
The statement was issued in response to a complaint filed by Common Cause, a government watchdog group, that claimed the payment to Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford) was an in-kind contribution to Trump’s campaign. “The allegations in the complaint are factually unsupported and without legal merit,” said Cohen.
Prior to Tuesday’s statements, Cohen had said that Trump denied having the affair. Daniels hasn’t publicly denied the affair to date and revealed detailed accounts of her illicit encounters with Trump in a 2011 In Touch interview before the payment was made.
Cohen did not answer any further questions and said he wouldn’t make any further comments on the Common Cause complaint or Daniels.