Porn star plans to dis­cuss af­fair


NEW YORK — Stormy Daniels, the porn star whom Don­ald Trump's at­tor­ney ac­knowl­edges pay­ing $130,000 just be­fore Elec­tion Day, be­lieves she is now free to dis­cuss an al­leged sex­ual en­counter with the man who is now pres­i­dent, her man­ager told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Wed­nes­day.

At the same time, de­vel­op­ments in the bizarre case are fu­el­ing 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 Tues­day: one in which Co­hen told The New York Times he made the six-fig­ure 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 the 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 Clif­ford, who was pro­mot­ing a porn pro­duc­tion com­pany dur­ing a celebrity golf tour­na­ment.

In the years since, Clif­ford 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.

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.

Co­hen said the pay­ment was made with his own money, and that "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."

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 case was rem­i­nis­cent of the 2012 prose­cu­tion of for­mer Demo­cratic vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee John Ed­wards, who faced six crim­i­nal charges after a pair of his wealthy friends spent nearly $1 mil­lion to sup­port his preg­nant mistress, Rielle Hunter, dur­ing his 2008 pres­i­den­tial run.

But Bradley Smith, the Repub­li­can chair­man of the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion from 2000 to 2005, was skep­ti­cal that the pay­ment by Co­hen could pose a cam­paign fi­nance is­sue.

"You'd have to prove that it was a co­or­di­nated ex­pen­di­ture, and that the rea­son it was done was for the ben­e­fit of the cam­paign," he said.

At the time of the pay­ment, Clif­ford was ne­go­ti­at­ing with mul­ti­ple na­tional news net­works about telling her story.

Ro­driguez said her client will soon an­nounce how and when she will tell her story pub­licly.

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