Wednesday, February 14, 2018
The long-term personal lawyer of US President Donald Trump has admitted privately paying an adult film star $130,000 (£95,000) in 2016, in a statement to US media.
It follows US media reports that the porn actress known as Stormy Daniels was paid to sign an agreement stopping her discussing an alleged affair. She first said she had a relationship with Mr Trump in a 2011 interview.
The lawyer has previously said Mr Trump "vehemently denies" it occurred.
Responding to questions from CNN about why the payment was made, Mr 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," Mr Cohen added.
Donald Trump's lawyer and all-around fixer Michael Cohen has said he doesn't plan "further comment" on his six-figure payment to Stormy Daniels. His statements, however, raise more questions than they answer.
While he said the money came from his "personal funds" and was not reimbursed directly or indirectly by the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign, that leaves open the possibility that he was compensated by other parties - including Mr Trump himself.
Why, in his generosity, would Mr Cohen give $130,000 to Ms Daniels? The Wall Street Journal has reported that it was in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement about a decade-old affair between Mr Trump and Ms Daniels.
Circumstantial evidence - that Ms Daniels had been in contact with media outlets prior to the transfer and has since gone silent - lends credence to this line.
Even though the alleged affair is long since past, a story about possible hush money and an attempted cover-up just weeks before the presidential election is much more dangerous for a White House already on its heels.
And if it turns out there's more to the money trail than has been disclosed, an embarrassing situation could quickly morph into a criminal inquiry.
Admin's note: Participants in this discussion must follow the site's moderation policy. Profanity will be filtered. Abusive conduct is not allowed.