United States President Donald Trump’s lawyer is believed to have arranged for a $130,000 payment (around Rs 83 lakh) to an adult film actress in exchange for her silence over their alleged sexual encounter. Michael Cohen, a top attorney for the Trump Organization, orchestrated the payout to Stephanie Clifford a month before the 2016 presidential election, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, quoting people familiar with the matter.

Cohen arranged for the payment shortly before the election as the 38-year-old actress had been discussing sharing her story with ABC’s “Good Morning America” and online magazine Slate, according to The New York Times.

Editor-in-Chief of the Slate Group Jacob Weisberg told the newspaper that in a number of interviews in August and October 2016, Clifford told him she had an affair with Trump after meeting him at a celebrity golf tournament in 2006. She claimed the US president’s lawyer had agreed to pay her $130,000 during the election campaign if she kept their relationship secret.

In an email sent to The New York Times on Friday, Cohen refused to comment on the alleged $130,000 payment to the adult film star, but said, “These rumours have circulated time and again since 2011. President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels,” referring to Clifford by her stage name Stormy Daniels.

The lawyer had released a statement dated January 10, signed by Clifford, in which she denied any “sexual and/or romantic affair” with Trump “many, many, many years ago” and that her involvement with the president had been limited to a few public appearances.