Michael Cohen, personal attorney for President Donald Trump, told The New York Times on Tuesday that he paid Stephanie Clifford (a.k.a. porn star Stormy Daniels)$130,000 in 2016. However, he insisted that the money was his own.
“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 told the newspaper. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”
He did not explain what the payment was for.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Daniels had an affair with Trump in 2006, the year after he married Melania and a few months after the birth of their son, Barron. Daniels was reportedly paid $130,000 just before the 2016 election to sign a nondisclosure agreement and keep silent about the matter.
The White House has denied the affair, and Daniels has released statements also rebuffing the reports.
“Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage,” Cohen told BuzzFeed. “I will always protect Mr. Trump.”
Last month, InTouch magazine printed a previously unpublished 2011 interview with Daniels in which she spoke at length about the alleged affair. The conversation was conducted before the nondisclosure agreement.
The $130,000 payment came under scrutiny after watchdog group Common Cause filed a complaint to determine if it ran afoul of campaign laws as an in-kind contribution.
“The complaint alleges that I somehow violated campaign finance laws by facilitating an excess, in-kind contribution,” Cohen told the Times. “The allegations in the complaint are factually unsupported and without legal merit, and my counsel has submitted a response to the F.E.C.”