Porn star free to tell all: man­ager

Daniels says she has story to tell about Trump

The New Zealand Herald - - WORLD - Jeff Hor­witz

Porn star Stormy Daniels be­lieves she is free to dis­cuss an al­leged sex­ual en­counter with Don­ald Trump af­ter Trump’s lawyer ac­knowl­edged pay­ing her US$130,000 ($175,940) just be­fore Trump was elected pres­i­dent in 2016.

At the same time, de­vel­op­ments in the bizarre case are fu­elling ques­tions about whether such a pay­ment could vi­o­late fed­eral cam­paign fi­nance laws.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clif­ford, be­lieves that Trump’s per­sonal lawyer, Michael Co­hen, in­val­i­dated a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment af­ter two news sto­ries were pub­lished on Wed­nes­day: one in which Co­hen told the New York Times he made the six­fig­ure pay­ment with his per­sonal funds, and an­other in the Daily Beast, which re­ported that Co­hen was shop­ping a book pro­posal that would touch on Daniels’ story, said Daniels’ man­ager, Gina Ro­driguez.

“Ev­ery­thing is off now, and Stormy is go­ing to tell her story,” Ro­driguez said.

At is­sue is what, ex­actly, hap­pened in­side a Lake Ta­hoe, Ne­vada, ho­tel room in 2006 be­tween Trump, then a re­al­ity TV star, and Daniels, who was pro­mot­ing a porn pro­duc­tion com­pany dur­ing a celebrity golf tour­na­ment.

In the years since, Daniels has claimed that she and Trump had sex once and then car­ried on a sub­se­quent years­long pla­tonic re­la­tion­ship. But she has also, through a lawyer, de­nied the two had an af­fair. Trump’s lawyer, Co­hen, has de­nied there was ever an af­fair.

The ac­tress first de­tailed her ac­count of an al­leged ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fair with Trump in 2011, when the celebrity web­site The Dirty pub­lished it but then re­moved the ma­te­rial un­der the threat of a law­suit, ac­cord­ing to the site’s founder, Nik Richie.

Her story then re­mained largely out of public view un­til a month be­fore the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, when the web­site The Smok­ing Gun pub­lished an ac­count that went mostly un­noted by ma­jor news or­gan­i­sa­tions.

In Jan­u­ary, the Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported that a limited li­a­bil­ity com­pany in Delaware formed by Co­hen made the six-fig­ure pay­ment to the ac­tress to keep her from dis­cussing the af­fair dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Co­hen said the pay­ment was made with his own money, and that “nei­ther the Trump Or­gan­i­sa­tion nor the Trump cam­paign was a party to the trans­ac­tion with Ms Clif­ford, and nei­ther re­im­bursed me for the pay­ment, ei­ther di­rectly or in­di­rectly”. He was re­spond­ing to in­quiries from the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, which is in­ves­ti­gat­ing an ad­vo­cacy group’s com­plaint that the Oc­to­ber 2016 trans­ac­tion vi­o­lated cam­paign fi­nance laws.

The pay­ment by Trump’s lawyer was not re­ported as a cam­paign ex­pen­di­ture nor an in-kind con­tri­bu­tion, and the ori­gin of the money is still un­clear, said Paul Ryan, a vi­cepres­i­dent at Com­mon Cause, the group that filed the com­plaint.

But Bradley Smith, the Repub­li­can chair­man of the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion from 2000 to 2005, was scep­ti­cal that the pay­ment by Co­hen could pose a cam­paign fi­nance is­sue. “You’d have to prove that it was a co-ordinated ex­pen­di­ture, and that the rea­son it was done was for the ben­e­fit of the cam­paign,” he said.

At the time of the pay­ment, which fol­lowed the re­lease of footage from Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood, in which Trump was recorded brag­ging about grab­bing women’s pri­vates, Daniels was ne­go­ti­at­ing with mul­ti­ple na­tional news net­works about telling her story.

The al­leged af­fair be­tween the ac­tress and Trump oc­curred in 2006, a year af­ter his mar­riage to his third wife, Me­la­nia.

A lawyer for Daniels, Keith David­son, has pre­vi­ously dis­trib­uted state­ments on her be­half deny­ing there was any af­fair. But in a 2011 in­ter­view with the gos­sip mag­a­zine In Touch, the ac­tress — who the mag­a­zine said passed a poly­graph exam — said the two had sex on one oc­ca­sion and she de­scribed sub­se­quent in­per­son meet­ings, phone calls and dis­cus­sions about a po­ten­tial TV ap­pear­ance. — AP

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Pic­ture / AP

Stormy Daniels met Don­ald Trump at a celebrity golf tour­na­ment in 2006.

Don­ald Trump

Michael Co­hen

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