Michael Cohen asks Stormy Daniels to give back $130,000 in Trump hush money
By MICHAEL FINNEGAN | Los Angeles Times | Published: September 8, 2018
(Tribune News Service) — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, has asked Stephanie Clifford, the porn actress known as Stormy Daniels, to return the $130,000 payoff she received in exchange for keeping quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.
A lawyer for Cohen and Essential Consultants LLC, the shell company that he used to pay Daniels, demanded the money in a letter to her attorney, Michael Avenatti.
The lawyer, Brent Blakely, said Cohen would agree to void the nondisclosure agreement that he and Clifford signed just before the November 2016 presidential election.
Clifford offered months ago to return the $130,000 if Cohen and Trump would cancel the confidentiality pact.
But Avenatti said Saturday that she first wants to take the depositions of Cohen and Trump.
"This is nothing more than a stunt designed to avoid Cohen and Trump from answering questions under oath," Avenatti said by email.
When Cohen pleaded guilty last month to eight felonies, he admitted that the payoff to Clifford was an illegal donation to Trump's campaign. He said Trump directed him to buy her silence.
Trump has denied having the 2006 affair and said he had no advance knowledge of the payment. His lawyer, Charles Harder, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
In court papers filed when Cohen pleaded guilty, federal prosecutors said the Trump Organization had already reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Daniels.
Blakely, whose letter to Avenatti was first reported by CNN, declined to comment on whether Cohen would return any money that his company might get from Clifford to the Trump Organization.
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