Michael Cohen Denies Any Wrongdoing In Stormy Daniels Payoff
Michael Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, said Tuesday that he paid $130,000 out of pocket to adult film star Stephanie Clifford better known as Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had engaged in an affair with the president before his time in office.
“In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford,” said Cohen in a statement released on Tuesday. “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.”
In a story that was first reported on by The Wall Street Journal in January, Cohen set up a private LLC in order to facilitate a payment to Clifford in an alleged effort to keep her from discussing her time spent with Trump in 2006.
Clifford, in a 2011 interview with In Touch Magazine said that she and Trump had first started seeing each other after a golf tournament and shortly after his current wife Melania had given birth to their son Barron.
Common Cause, a watchdog group based in Washington D.C., filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department in January alleging that the reported payment to Clifford constituted a campaign finance violation. However, in Cohen’s statement on Tuesday, he denied any wrongdoing and instead asserted that the monetary exchange was “lawful” and “not a campaign contribution.”
Cohen said the complaints against him “are factually unsupported and without legal merit,” adding that his counsel has already submitted a response to the FEC.
A lawyer for Common Cause, Paul Seamus Ryan, who first filed the complaint against Cohen says that Cohen in his statement only specified that he had not received compensation by the Trump Campaign or Trump Organization but not Trump himself.
Ryan said that Cohen “did not remove the possibility that he was reimbursed by Donald Trump himself or by someone other than Donald Trump, for this payment.”
Following the initial reports last month that Cohen had made a payment to Clifford, Cohen released a statement stating that the president “vehemently denies” any sort of contact took place between the two.