An adult film actress is offering to return $130,000 paid to her to not disclose an alleged affair with President Trump in order to be able to publicly discuss their relationship, her lawyer said.
Last month Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen said he paid the actress from his own account and that he has not been reimbursed for the transaction by Donald Trump, his organization or his presidential campaign, either directly or indirectly.
“In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford,” Cohen said in a statement. “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.”
A lawyer for Ms. Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, offered to return the payment to Cohen in order to rescind the nondisclosure agreement that exists between she and the President.
Michael Avenatti, Clifford’s lawyer, said that the $130,000 could be wired to any account the President designated by Friday in exchange for the acknowledgement that the so-called “Hush Agreement” that exists between the President, Cohen and Clifford could be deemed “null and void” in its entirety.
That dissolution would allow Clifford to “use and publish any text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the President that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and/or legal liability for damages,” according to a letter Avenatti sent to Clifford.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in responding to questions about the case said that “arbitration was won in the President’s favor.” It was a tacit admission that some type of agreement exists between the President and Clifford.
In January, Common Cause, a government watchdog and advocacy group filed a complaint with both the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department alleging the payment to Clifford constituted a campaign finance violation.
Cohen created a private LLC to pay Clifford just weeks before the 2016 election. (The alleged encounter between Clifford and Trump allegedly took place in July 2006.) Common Cause says that the payment appears to have been intended to influence the election, thus making it an “in-kind contribution” under campaign finance regulations. Any such payment is subject to a $2,700 limit and disclosure requirements.
Cohen says that has filed a response with the FEC but that the response will not be made public until the matter is ultimately resolved. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone,” Cohen said.
When asked why he made the payment from his funds, Cohen said, “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.”