- President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, used his Trump Organization email account in 2016 to negotiate a hush agreement and to transfer $130,000 to porn star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels.
- Cohen, who has admitted to facilitating the $130,000 payment to keep Clifford quiet, denies that the negotiations or the payment were made on behalf of the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign.
- Clifford’s lawyer says Cohen’s use of his Trump Organization email suggests that the money provided to Clifford did not come from his personal bank account.
President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, used his Trump Organization email account to negotiate an October 2016 hush agreement and to transfer $130,000 to porn star Stephanie Clifford, who says she had an affair with Trump a decade ago, NBC News reported Friday.
Clifford’s attorney at the time addressed Cohen in their correspondence as a Trump Organization official and as “Special Counsel to Donald J. Trump.”
Cohen, who has admitted to facilitating the $130,000 payment to keep Clifford quiet, denies that the negotiations or the payment were made on behalf of the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president denies having any relationship with Clifford and did not know about the payment or the non-disclosure agreement.
“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.
Clifford’s new attorney provided NBC with an email between Cohen’s Trump Organization account and his bank concerning the money transfer.
“I think this document seriously calls into question the prior representation of Mr. Cohen and the White House relating to the source of the monies paid to Ms. Clifford in an effort to silence her,” the attorney, Michael Avenatti, told NBC. “We smell smoke.”
Avenatti argues that the email suggests that the bank account from which Cohen transferred the money to Clifford was a Trump Organization account, rather than Cohen’s personal account.
“Mr. Cohen should immediately provide the prior emails [between him and the bank] to show exactly where the money came from,” Avenatti told NBC.
Clifford sued the president on Tuesday, arguing that the nondisclosure agreement she says was designed to conceal the affair is invalid because Trump never signed it. The suit says Trump “purposely did not sign the agreement so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow any knowledge of the Hush Agreement and Ms. Clifford.”
In January, In Touch Weekly, a celebrity-gossip magazine, published the transcript from a lengthy 2011 interview with Clifford in which she detailed her sexual relationship with Trump, which she says began in July 2006 and continued through early 2007. Clifford told the outlet that he nicknamed her “honey bunch” and said she was “beautiful and smart just like his daughter.”