Michael Cohen, the longtime lawyer for President Donald Trump, said on Tuesday that he paid $130,000 to porn star Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, out of his own pocket.
Clifford once claimed that she had an affair with Trump, though she denies it now.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported in January that Cohen paid Clifford $130,000 as part of an agreement to keep her quiet on her affair with Trump. Cohen’s Tuesday statement is the first time he acknowledged making the payment, but he did not say why he made the payment to Clifford.
“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 in a statement first obtained by the New York Times. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”
Cohen made the statement in response to a complaint from the group Common Cause that the payment was an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign.
“The complaint alleges that I somehow violated campaign finance laws by facilitating an excess, in-kind contribution,” he said in the statement. “The allegations in the complaint are factually unsupported and without legal merit, and my counsel has submitted a response to the F.E.C.”