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Monday, January 22, 2018

Porn star paid to keep mum on Trump

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A lawyer for US President Donald Trump allegedly paid an adult film actress $130,000 in October, 2016 to prevent her publicly discussing a purported sexual encounter with Trump, The New York Times reports. Stephanie Clifford, who used the stage name Stormy Daniels, was  reportedly considering sharing her account with ABC's 'Good Morning America' and online magazine Slate.

In a series of interviews in August and October 2016, Clifford alleges she had an affair with Trump following a meeting at a 2006 celebrity golf tournament, Slate Group Editor-in-Chief Jacob Weisberg told The New York Times.

She also claimed that Trump Organization top attorney Michael D Cohen had promised to pay her $130,000 if the relationship was kept secret, he said. Clifford was considering making the matter public because Cohen was late in making the payment and she feared he may back out of the deal.

Text messages provided to The Times by Weisberg show him asking her about the details of the arrangement."Was the Trump lawyer Michael Cohen?" he asked."Yep!" responded Clifford. Weisberg also shared a draft of the agreement (which used pseudonyms) with The Times.

Asked for comment on the story, Michael Cohen did not directly address the payment. "These rumors have circulated time and again since 2011," he said. "President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms Daniels."

Stephanie Clifford did not respond directly to enquiries from The Times, but a Jan 10 letter from Cohen signed by her stated that rumors she had a "had a sexual and/or romantic affair with Mr. Trump many, many, many years ago" were "completely false.

"Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false," the statement said."These are old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election," The White House said.

If published, the report would have come soon after the release of the 'Access Hollywood' footage where Trump boasted about grabbing women by the genitals uninvited and pursuing married women. The footage had been recorded during Melania Trump's pregnancy with son Barron.

A former Playboy model, Karen McDougal sold the exclusive rights to her story about an affair with Trump to American Media Inc around the same time, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The story was never published. The company denied that it had locked down a story that could have damaged Trump prior to the election.

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