Files ‘show Trump knew about pay­offs to porn star’

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - From Emily Kent Smith in Cal­i­for­nia

‘Publi­cise sex­ual en­coun­ters’

DON­ALD Trump sat in on meet­ings where hush money pay­ments to for­mer lovers were agreed, it was claimed last night.

The US Pres­i­dent has re­peat­edly de­nied any in­volve­ment in the al­leged pay-offs.

Sums of $130,000 and $150,000 went to adult film star Stormy Daniels and ex-play­boy star Karen McDou­gal. Both agree­ments were dis­cussed in some de­tail with Mr Trump be­fore he won power, ac­cord­ing to The Wall Street Jour­nal. The news­pa­per said it had doc­u­ments and dozens of in­ter­views to prove he had been at meet­ings and on calls where the fees were sanc­tioned.

The US At­tor­ney’s of­fice has also gath­ered a dossier show­ing he was in­volved, the WSJ re­ported, claim­ing this may have been an il­le­gal breach of cam­paign fi­nanc­ing laws. The Democrats are likely to leap on the al­le­ga­tions and use them as am­mu­ni­tion to try to im­peach Mr Trump.

The deals are said to have been struck through David Pecker, head of Amer­i­can Me­dia, which owns the Na­tional En­quirer mag­a­zine. Be­fore he was elected, Mr Trump is said to have gone to his long­stand­ing friend Mr Pecker, and asked how he could help him to win his bid for the White House. Mr Pecker re­port­edly agreed to help by si­lenc­ing those who came for­ward to publi­cise sex­ual en­coun­ters, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments sourced by the WSJ.

It was al­legedly agreed that the me­dia out­let would tip off Mr Trump when any­one with claims came for­ward and a plan on how to deal with the al­le­ga­tions was agreed.

When Miss McDou­gal of­fered a story about Mr Trump to the mag­a­zine, the En­quirer agreed to pay her the $150,000 (£116,000).

It is un­der­stood the mag­a­zine did not in­tend to pub­lish the claims and the agree­ment meant Miss McDou­gal could not speak to any­one else.

A jour­nal­ist in­ter­viewed Miss McDou­gal with all of the de­tails later al­legedly re­layed to the Pres­i­dent.

There was no con­crete proof of the af­fair, Mr Trump was re­port­edly told. He al­legedly thanked Mr Pecker for his help. The WSJ claims a re­pay­ment plan, from Mr Trump, was later agreed so the me­dia out­let would not be out of pocket. But this was al­legedly later torn up fol­low­ing le­gal con­cerns.

The WSJ said it spoke to more than 30 peo­ple with di­rect knowl­edge of the events and has also seen court records and cor­po­rate records that prove Mr Trump per­son­ally knew about the pay­ments.

It said it had de­tails about ev­ery el­e­ment of the al­leged ne­go­ti­a­tions. It says Mr Trump was in­volved or briefed on ‘nearly ev­ery step’ – a rev­e­la­tion which means he may have vi­o­lated cam­paign fi­nance laws. For two years, the Pres­i­dent has de­nied he was in­volved in pay-offs.

When asked about the hush money by the WSJ last month, Mr Trump would not say whether he had dis- cussed pay­ments with his fixer and for­mer lawyer Michael Co­hen.

Mr Co­hen pleaded guilty to vi­o­lat­ing cam­paign fi­nance laws in court this sum­mer af­ter de­tails of pay­ments he had agreed were made pub­lic. He claimed the pay­ments had been made to en­sure Mr Trump got into the White House.

‘No­body cares about that,’ Mr Trump said, claim­ing Mr Co­hen was a ‘pub­lic-re­la­tions per­son’ who ‘rep­re­sented me on very small things’.

Mr Co­hen told pros­e­cu­tors he had spo­ken to Mr Trump in the weeks be­fore the elec­tion about pay­ing Stephanie Clif­ford, the for­mer adult-film star known un­der the stage name Stormy Daniels, to keep her quiet. The White House was con­tacted for com­ment.

Paid off: Trump with Daniels

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