Manager: Porn star can now tell her story


Associated Press

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 involving 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, Nev., 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.

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 2016 presidential election, when the website The Smoking Gun published an account that went mostly unnoted by major news organizations.

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 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.

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