Michael Cohen Secretly Recorded 2016 Conversation With Trump About Payment To Ex-Playboy Model Karen McDougal
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump‘s longtime personal attorney, secretly taped a discussion the pair had just two months before the 2016 election about payments to a former Playboy model who claimed to have had an extramarital affair with Trump.
Cohen Recorded Discussion With Trump About Payment
Citing “lawyers and others familiar with the recording.” the New York Times reported Friday that the taped conversation is one of the dozens of materials FBI officials seized in raids on Cohen’s home and office in April. After weeks of review, federal investigators concluded that less than one percent of records obtained in those searches contained privileged information.
Cohen has long been accused of facilitating payments to several women with whom Trump allegedly had affairs over the last fifteen years. The so-called “fixer” has appeared in a New York court for his payment of $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels, who had a sexual encounter with the president in 2006. Cohen allegedly paid Daniels the sum just weeks before the 2016 election in order to silence her. Daniels is now claiming the non-disclosure agreement she and Trump reached about their affair is invalid because the real estate mogul never signed it. The adult film star and her attorney Michael Avenatti have been aggressively pursuing Trump and Cohen, whom Daniels has sued for defamation.
Cohen has even been rumored to “flip” on Trump, despite repeatedly claiming to be unwaveringly loyal to the president. Recent development suggest Cohen is growing more prepared to cooperate with prosecutors. Avenatti recently said he firmly believes Cohen will turn on Trump before the summer ends, and that the president will not be able to finish his first term in office.
According to the Times, the recording — which lasted less than two minutes — was of a conversation about paying former Playboy model Karen McDougal, with whom Trump allegedly had an affair in 2006 and 2007. Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers in the Russia investigation, reportedly told the newspaper that Cohen and the president did in fact talk about the payment to McDougal on tape but that she never actually received any money. Giuliani insisted that the recording showed Trump had not committed any crime.
The former New York City mayor also reportedly said that Trump had asked Cohen to pay McDougal via a check and not in cash so as to have proof of payment. Giuliani previously said Trump was aware of the “hush money” payment to Daniels made through Cohen’s law firm, and that the president repaid his personal lawyer in installments. This statement directly contradicted what Trump had said about the scandal involving Daniels.
McDougal famously sold her story about her affair with Trump to The National Enquirer for $150,000 in 2016, and later settled a lawsuit with American Media Inc., (AMI) the tabloid’s parent company. David Pecker, the chairman of AMI, is reportedly close friends with Trump. The Enquirer was also recently accused of sending stories about Trump to Cohen for review before publishing.