United States President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael D Cohen (pictured above) on Tuesday said that he paid $1,30,000 (around Rs 83 lakh) out of his own pocket to adult film actor Stephanie Clifford, who had once claimed she had an affair with Trump, The New York Times reported.
“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 to the newspaper.
Cohen had reportedly made the payout to Clifford a month before the 2016 presidential election, The Wall Street Journal had reported in January. The 38-year-old actor was reportedly in discussions with ABC’s “Good Morning America” programme and online magazine Slate about sharing her story.
The lawyer, however, refused to answer several follow-up questions, including whether Trump had been aware that he had made the payment, why he had done so, and whether he had made similar payments to other people in the past, The New York Times reported.
He said that he had given a similar statement to the Federal Election Commission in response to a complaint that the government watchdog group Common Cause had filed. Common Cause argued that Cohen’s payment to Clifford was made through a limited liability company and qualified as 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,” Cohen told the Times. “The allegations in the complaint are factually unsupported and without legal merit, and my counsel has submitted a response to the FEC.”
The lawyer denied that Trump had an affair with Clifford and said that just because it was not true did not mean that it could not have damaged Trump during the presidential election. “I will always protect Mr Trump.”
Clifford had told her story to the magazine In Touch in 2011, and the gossip website TheDirty.com of her alleged affair with the current US president in 2006 after his wife Melania Trump had given birth to the couple’s son Barron Trump.