Trump lawyer arranged $130,000 payment for adult-film star’s silence
A lawyer for President Donald Trump allegedly paid off a former porn star to keep her from talking about a consensual sexual encounter they'd shared in 2006, according to The Wall Street Journal. Attorney Michael Cohen reportedly paid a lawyer representing Stephanie Clifford, who appeared in adult films under the name Stormy Daniels, $130,000 in October 2016 – a month before the U.S. election – in exchange for her signature on a nondisclosure agreement.
The duo met in July 2006, a little over a year after Trump married First Lady Melania, at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at the Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Nevada. Clifford was 27 at the time and was there representing the adult film studio Wicked, which made her films. She posed for a photo with the future president at the event. Rumors of the meeting have abounded on gossip sites since around 2011.
A White House official shot down the rumors in a statement to the Journal. "These are old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election," said the person, who refused to address the existence of an NDA.
Cohen, in his statement, did not reference a hush-money situation but dismissed the notion that Trump had an affair. "President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels," he said. "This is now the second time that you are raising outlandish allegations against my client. You have attempted to perpetuate this false narrative for over a year; a narrative that has been consistently denied by all parties since at least 2011." (The paper previously reported that Clifford had been courting Good Morning America as a venue to discuss her relationship with Trump, though the interview never took place. The Journal subsequently alleged that the owners of the National Enquirer had paid $150,000 to a Playboy model for her own story of an affair with Trump but that it never ran.)
Cohen forwarded a letter to the Journal that was signed "Stormy Daniels" in which she denied she'd had a "sexual and/or romantic affair" with the President. It said, "Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false."
She did not comment for the Journal's story. The paper reported that sources said she'd complained that the payment wasn't happening fast enough.
The lawyer representing Clifford, Keith Davidson, said he wasn't able to discuss the situation because of attorney-client privilege.
Another porn star, Jessica Drake, who was at the same golf event as Clifford, claimed at an October 2016 press conference that Trump kissed her and two other women. "I did not sign [an NDA], nor have I received any money for coming forward," Drake told the Journal. "I spoke out because it was the right thing to do." A White House official called Drake's story "totally false and ridiculous."
An October 2016 investigation by The Smoking Gun into the allegations surrounding Clifford included quotations from her former husband, Michael Mosny. He said that he remembered bringing her to Trump-related events in 2007, such as the launch of Trump Vodka and the Miss USA Pageant, and he recalled meetings she'd had with Trump in Beverly Hills and New York. He said he was "not under the impression" she was carrying on an affair with Trump. By his estimation, she thought that the time she spent with Trump would lead to a spot on The Apprentice.
In 2011, Clifford called the story "bullshit" and a lawyer for Trump called it "untrue and ridiculous."