Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Trump admits reimbursing lawyer for porn star payoff

Stormy Daniels-TRUMP

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Thursday admitted he reimbursed his lawyer for a $130,000 payment to a porn star, ending months of White House denial.

Trump tweeted that his personal lawyer Michael Cohen used a retainer to pay off Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had sexual relations with the now president.

But Trump slammed claims of an affair with Daniels – whose real name is Stephanie Clifford – as “false and extortionist.”

The sexual encounter allegedly took place in 2006, four months after Trump’s wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron.

Cohen’s payment was made days before the November 2016 US presidential election, potentially violating campaign financing laws.

Separately, NBC news on Thursday revealed that the FBI has for months had a wiretap on Cohen’s calls, including potential presidential contacts.

In a burst of tweets, Trump denied the hush money was connected to his campaign, calling it a “private agreement.”

Getty Images

Getty Images

Trump also said non-disclosure agreements were “very common among celebrities and people of wealth.” “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 said.

“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,” he said.

“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 [sic] in this transaction.”

The admission came at an awkward time for Trump, hours before he hosted religious leaders at the White House for a National Prayer Day event, which the first lady did not attend.

Trump ignored questions about the issue from the press, and guests, many of whom were political supporters of the president, shouted “shame on you” at reporters.

His admission came after Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who recently joined the president’s legal team, disclosed Wednesday that Trump had reimbursed Cohen for the payment over a period of several months.

It also followed an FBI raid in early April on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room in which information related to the payments was reportedly seized.

Daniels has sued to have the non-disclosure agreement invalidated on grounds that Trump never signed it.

In his tweets, Trump insisted the agreement is “in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels),” he said.

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