Trump lawyer: 'I paid porn star linked to president'

2018-02-14 09:32
Stormy Daniels arrives for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles, AP, File)

Stormy Daniels arrives for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles, AP, File)

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Washington - US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer told the New York Times Tuesday he paid $130 000 of his own money to a porn star who once said she had an affair with Trump.

The long-time Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, said he was not reimbursed for the payment to the actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford and who goes by the stage name of Stormy Daniels, the Times reported.

Cohen told the newspaper the payment was legal but declined to give details such as why he made it or if Trump was aware of the payment at the time.

"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, according to the Times.

"The payment to Ms Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone."

US media reports have said the payment was made one month before the November 2016 election to keep the liaison quiet.

'Private transaction'

Trump was a private citizen when the 2006 sexual encounter with Clifford allegedly took place.

He was married at the time and his wife Melania had given birth to their son less than four months earlier.

The payment was first reported in January by the Wall Street Journal. Cohen's statement to the Times marked the first time he acknowledged a role in what he termed a "private transaction".

Trump, through his lawyers, and Clifford, 38, have both denied anything ever went on between them.

But in January the celebrity magazine In Touch published a 2011 interview with Clifford in which she expounds at length and in detail on their relationship and what she described as their "textbook generic" sex.

In that interview, Clifford said she met Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in 2006 and had a sexual encounter with him then.

She said she spoke with Trump on the phone or saw him in person for about a year.

The In Touch interview, which had not been published before, was conducted before Clifford's alleged signing of a secrecy agreement in October 2016.

Clifford has been taking advantage of her new-found notoriety.

Non-disclosure agreement

She appeared at the Trophy Club strip club in South Carolina in January as part of a "Make America Horny Again" tour that will also reportedly take her to several other states over the next few months.

In a recent appearance on the late night TV talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live - right after Trump delivered his State of the Union address - Clifford repeatedly deflected questions about the alleged affair and whether she had signed a non-disclosure agreement.

"You can't say whether you have a non-disclosure agreement. But if you didn't have a non-disclosure agreement, you most certainly could say, 'I don't have a non-disclosure agreement.' Yes?" Kimmel asked.

"You're so smart, Jimmy," Clifford answered.

Later in the interview, Kimmel asked her: "Have you ever made love to someone whose name rhymes with Lonald Lump?"

"I'll call you whatever you want me to call you, baby," Clifford responded.

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