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Trump confirms hush-money payment to adult-film star but denies affair

Friday, May 04, 2018

Washington: President Donald Trump confirmed yesterday that he reimbursed his personal lawyer the USD 130,000 he had given to adult-film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence over an alleged affair with him, forcing his advisers to prepare for a new round of questions from the public.

Trump's acknowledgement of the payment before the 2016 US presidential election came hours after his new legal aide and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani revealed that the president had personally repaid his personal attorney Michael Cohen the USD 130,000 that was used to buy Daniels's silence through a non-disclosure agreement.

In an early morning tweet, Trump, 71, said that he reimbursed Cohen USD 130,000 for the payments the latter made to Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential elections in exchange of not going public with her alleged affair with him.

Trump said Cohen, was paid via a "monthly retainer" and that the hush agreement into which Cohen entered with Daniels had "nothing to do with the campaign."

The President had previously denied knowledge of the payment, which has prompted complaints to the Justice Department and Federal Election Commission over potential violations of campaign finance law. "Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth," Trump claimed. "In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair," Trump said.

He added, "Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no role in this transaction."

The president's new statements about the payment and a nondisclosure agreement with Daniels, is now forcing Trump's advisers to prepare for a new round of questions from the public, The New York Times reported.

Speaking on Fox News on Tuesday, Giuliani said the reimbursement to Cohen was "not campaign money" and that the payment was "perfectly legal." Cohen had admitted to paying Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, out of his own pocket through a private LLC.

Daniels has sued Trump and Cohen, saying the nondisclosure agreement is void because Trump did not sign it.

The White House has said Trump denies the affair.

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