President Trump’s longtime lawyer told The New York Times on Tuesday that he personally paid off a porn star who claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump.
In a statement to The Times, Michael Cohen said he paid the $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford, best known as “Stormy Daniels,” without the connivance of Mr. Trump or his entities, and was not compensated after the fact.
“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,” he said in his statement. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”
According to The Times, Mr. Cohen refused such follow-up questions as whether Mr. Trump knew of the payoff, whether there were other payoffs, and why specifically this one was made.
Mr. Cohen has put out statements on behalf of both Mr. Trump and Ms. Clifford, each saying the person denied the affair.
However Ms. Clifford has given two interviews over the years claiming an extramarital affair with the real-estate tycoon who would become president.
She has declined to speak on the matter, besides Mr. Cohen’s statements, since Mr. Trump’s election.
While Tuesday’s statement was Mr. Cohen’s first acknowledgement of the payoff, the Wall Street Journal reported the payoff last month, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
The payment was made in October 2016, the Journal reported.
Mr. Cohen said, in Tuesday’s statement to The Times, that his making the payment personally and without the assistance of Mr. Trump or his organizations refutes a complaint made by a liberal watchdog group with the Federal Election Commission charging abuse of campaign funds.
“The complaint alleges that I somehow violated campaign finance laws by facilitating an excess, in-kind contribution,” Mr. Cohen said. “The allegations in the complaint are factually unsupported and without legal merit.”
He added that his lawyer had told the FEC the same facts as mentioned in his statement to The Times.