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Trump lawyer says he paid $130,000 to porn star linked to president

AFP, Washington, Feb 14 2018, 12:48 IST
US President Donald Trump. REUTERS

US President Donald Trump. REUTERS

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer told the 'New York Times' on Tuesday he paid $130,000 of his own money to a porn star who once said she had an affair with Trump.

The long-time Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, said he was not reimbursed for the payment to the actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford and who goes by the stage name of Stormy Daniels, the Times reported.

Cohen told the newspaper the payment was legal but declined to give details such as why he made it or if Trump was aware of the payment at the time.

"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, according to the Times.

"The payment to Ms Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone."

US media reports have said the payment was made one month before the November 2016 election to keep the liaison quiet.

Trump was a private citizen when the 2006 sexual encounter with Stephanie reportedly took place.

He was married at the time and his wife Melania had given birth to their son less than four months earlier.

The payment was first reported last month by the Wall Street Journal. Cohen's statement to the Times marked the first time he acknowledged a role in what he termed a "private transaction."

Trump, through his lawyers, and Stephanie, 38, have both denied anything ever went on between them.

But last month the celebrity magazine 'In Touch' published a 2011 interview with Stephanie in which she expounds at length and in detail on their relationship and what she described as their "textbook generic" sex.

In that interview, Stephanie said she met Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in 2006 and had a sexual encounter with him then.

She said she spoke with Trump on the phone or saw him in person for about a year.

The 'In Touch interview', which had not been published before, was conducted before Stephanie's reported signing of a secrecy agreement in October 2016.

Stephanie has been taking advantage of her new-found notoriety.

She appeared at the Trophy Club strip club in South Carolina last month as part of a "Make America Horny Again" tour that will also reportedly take her to several other states over the next few months.

In a recent appearance on the late night TV talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live" - right after Trump delivered his State of the Union address-Stephanie repeatedly deflected questions about the affair and whether she had signed a non-disclosure agreement.

"You can't say whether you have a non-disclosure agreement. But if you didn't have a non-disclosure agreement, you most certainly could say, 'I don't have a non-disclosure agreement. Yes," Kimmel asked.

"You're so smart, Jimmy," Stephanie answered.

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