Updated at 2:51 p.m. ET
President Trump’s personal attorney says he paid $130,000 to an adult film star who said she had an affair with Trump.
In a statement first provided to The New York Times, Michael Cohen says that “in a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie 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.”
Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, says she met Trump during a golf tournament in 2006. In a 2011 interview with In Touch Weekly, she said she had an affair with Trump while he was married to his current wife, Melania, shortly after she gave birth to their son, Barron. Cohen has stated that Trump has denied the affair. After the allegations became public, Clifford went on a publicity tour but was coy about the specifics.
On Wednesday, Daniels’ manager, Gina Rodriguez, told The Associated Press that Cohen had violated the non-disclosure agreement between Daniels and Cohen and that the actress was now free to tell her side of the story.
“Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story,” Rodriguez told the AP.
Cohen says his payment to Clifford, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, “was lawful and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.” Cohen initially denied making the payments in the first Wall Street Journal story.
He cited a complaint filed by Common Cause to the Federal Election Commission that he said “alleges that I somehow violated campaign finance laws by facilitating an excess, in-kind contribution.” Cohen says the allegation in the complaint “are factually unsupported and without legal merit,” adding his counsel has submitted a response to the FEC.
Cohen said he would not have any further comment on the complaint or Clifford.
Paul Seamus Ryan, the lawyer for Common Cause who filed the FEC complaint, said Cohen’s denial only included the Trump Organization and Trump campaign, not Trump himself.
Cohen “did not remove the possibility that he was reimbursed by Donald Trump himself or by someone other than Donald Trump, for this payment,” said Ryan.
Of Cohen’s allegation that the payment to Daniels had nothing to do with the campaign, Ryan said, “this came came a week after the Access Hollywood tapes, so the Trump campaign already was mired in sexual misconduct allegations, or a sexual misconduct scandal.”
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