Summary: Donald Trump’s new lawyer stated that the president reimbursed Michael Cohen’s payment to porn star, Stormy Daniels.
This month, President Donald Trump got a new legal defense team, and already, one of his new lawyers is shaking up his strategy.
Trump is being sued by porn star, Stormy Daniels, for defamation and to be released from a non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2016. Daniels said that year she was given $130,000 from Trump’s camp in order to stay mum about the two’s 2006 affair, but Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has claimed that Trump did not know about the payment and that Cohen had arranged it on his own.
However, this week, Trump’s new attorney Rudy Giuliani stated that Trump Paid Cohen back and that no campaign money was ever used to pay Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Thursday on Twitter, Trump stated in multiple tweets that he paid Cohen with a monthly retainer that had nothing to do with campaign finances.
“Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA,” Trump wrote.
“These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair. ”
“Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction.”
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal revealed the $130,000 transaction made to Daniels, and Cohen later said that he had paid her from a private LLC that only he knew about. With this admission, Daniels sued Cohen and Trump, stating that the NDA she signed was not valid if Trump had not signed it. She also sued the two men separately for defamation because they claimed that Trump had never had an affair with her.
In 2011, Daniels gave an interview with InTouch Magazine that described her alleged affair with the future president in sordid detail. She said they met at a golf tournament in 2006 and had sex that evening. Trump was married to his current wife, Melania Trump, at the time, and she had just given birth to their son Barron.
On Thursday, Trump’s new lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, appeared on Fox News and said that Cohen had only paid Daniels money to “go away.” CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said that this sounded like a campaign violation because they had paid her during the campaign in order to shut her up.
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, said on Thursday that he was shocked Giuliani had made this admission. He added that if Trump and Cohen had structured the money to avoid detection that was still a possible violation of campaign finance law and perhaps the crime of money laundering.
“There also may be tax issues relating to the deductibility of those expenses,” Avenatti said. “If they were deducted as legal expenses for tax purposes when in reality it had nothing to do with legal services rendered but instead was the reimbursement of the $130,000, that, too, is going to be a problem.”
However, it is unclear what the courts would decide about this issue. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Daniels’ claims, but so far, it is unclear what his conclusion will be.
Bradley Smith, a former FEC chairman, told CNN that he did not think it mattered whether or not Trump paid Cohen back or not.
“I don’t think it matters whether Trump paid Cohen back or not,” Smith said. “The standard is not: If it’s related to the campaign, it’s a campaign expenditure. The standard is: It’s a campaign expenditure if it is an obligation that would not exist were it not for the campaign.”
- Stormy Daniels Sues Donald Trump for Defamation
- Stormy Daniels’ 60 Minutes Interview Transcript
- Stormy Daniels Sues Michael Cohen for Defamation