Donald Trump’s lawyer ‘paid ex-porn star $130,000 to stop reports of sexual encounter’
Donald Trump’s lawyer paid a former porn star $130,000 just before the election in an agreement that kept her silent over an alleged sexual encounter, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
The payment was arranged in October 2016 by Michael Cohen, a top attorney to the Trump Organisation for more than a year, according to the newspaper.
The woman in question is Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels and who has appeared in more than 150 adult films.
Ms Clifford alleged the encounter took place in July 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, according to people referenced in the report. Mr Trump married Melania Trump in 2005.
A White House official told the Wall Street Journal: "These are old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election."
Mr Cohen told the paper: “President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels.”
He also hit out at the Wall Street Journal’s “outlandish allegations” against Mr Trump and said the paper had been trying to “perpetuate” a “false narrative”.
Ms Clifford was 27 at the time she met Mr Trump in 2006. A photo uploaded that year by Ms Clifford on her MySpace account shows the pair together.
During the autumn of 2016, Ms Clifford was in talks with ABC’s Good Morning America to discuss Mr Trump, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
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Mr Trump faced a string of sexual harassment claims in the run-up to the US election – all of which he denied in the strongest terms.
That followed a leaked video tape showing Mr Trump boasting of grabbing women “by the p****”.
The row threatened to sink his political ambitions before he rallied to take the presidency.
Ms Clifford did not respond to requests for comment, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Mr Cohen sent a two-paragraph statement from Ms Clifford which denied “a sexual and/or romantic affair” with Mr Trump.
It went on: “Rumours that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false.”
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It is not known whether Mr Trump was aware of the payment, the Wall Street Journal reported. There is also no suggestion that the alleged sexual encounter was non-consensual.