“I Will Always Protect Mr. Trump”: Trump’s Attorney Claims Payment To Porn Star Was His Own Money, Not Trump’s or the Campaign’s Money

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedWe previously discussed the controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s alleged relationship with porn film star Stormy Daniels.  At issue was not just the alleged affair previously described by Daniels in an interview in 2011m but a payment in 2016 of $130,000 in exchange for a denial of the affair.   That payment was later the basis for a lawsuit by Common Cause alleging possible campaign finance violations.  The source of the money, the lawsuit alleged, may have been campaign money and the use of such money for this purpose would have violated federal law. Now, the Trump attorney who created a shield company and anonymous identity to pay off Daniels has stated that the money was his, not Trump’s or the campaign’s. That disclosure however raises additional questions — both factual and ethical.

 

In an interview with NBC, Michael Cohen, said “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 has also informed the Federal Election Commission that this was his money and thus not an illegal “in kind” political contribution. As a personal payment, Cohen insisted that it “was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

Cohen told CNN “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.”

Cohen’s incredibly generous payment for Trump does not resolve the legal questions.  If Cohen was receiving money from the campaign or Trump, the payment could be viewed as little more than a pretense or shielding tactic.  Cohen curiously set up a corporate structure and used an assumed name to carry out the transaction.  The use of personal funds added yet another wall between Daniels and Trump.  The question will likely be asked if Cohen received a padded or inflated payment to cover the “personal” payment.  Moreover, since Trump was running for president, the payment could be viewed as a form of political contribution that evaded federal election laws by the plaintiffs.

The obvious analogy would be to the prosecution of John Edwards who was also a presidential candidate.  He was accused of using hundreds of thousands of dollars from third parties to cover up an affair.  Those payments were alleged to be in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act and Edwards was charged with four counts of illegal campaign contributions, one count of conspiracy, and one count of false statements. The good news for Cohen and Trump is that Edwards escaped conviction but he did not escape the criminal charge.

There is also an interesting ethical question.  Cohen was representing Trump in this matter, including sending threats of defamation lawsuits.  He continues to represent Trump and has even become a plaintiff himself in a defamation action.

Becoming personally involved in a case of representation through personal contributions blurs the lines of the attorney-client relationship. It also raises the aforementioned questions of indirect payments and the use of counsel to circumvent reporting laws.  There is clearly a gray zone on gifts or such personal payments. However, attorneys are barred from entering into business transactions with clients.  This would not be a business transaction but it shows a level of personal involvement in a legal matter that most lawyers would not view as appropriate.  Lawyers struggle to keep the lines of the attorney-client relationship clear and distinct. This blurred those lines to a troubling degree.  It is difficult to see where the interest of the client ends and the lawyer begins.  It is not clear what Cohen was at that point: friend, lawyer, political fixer, or some ambiguous mix of the three.

The disclosure is designed to force the dismissal of the lawsuit since there is no evidence of a Trump or campaign payment. However, if the plaintiffs respond with an allegation of a quid pro quo deal, it could present a tough confidentiality fight. Common Cause could seek discovery on whether Cohen spoke with Trump or received funds meant to cover this large payment.  That could end up an issue for the court to resolve.  What is clear is that most judges would view this payment as irregular and concerning.  That may not be enough to overcome the confidentiality protections but Cohen may have only deepened this controversy with his claim of a generous contribution.

What do you think?

 

207 thoughts on ““I Will Always Protect Mr. Trump”: Trump’s Attorney Claims Payment To Porn Star Was His Own Money, Not Trump’s or the Campaign’s Money

  1. A lawyer can’t serve a client well these days without somebody making up BS “ethics claims.”

    Ethics claims have become like defamation suits– SLAPP suits – chances to punish lawyers for doing a good job.

    When the claims go nowhere, does anybody apologize to the lawyer who’s reputation has been harmed? never

    • YEAH! Just because an attorney admits to paying off a porn star to keep her from spilling the beans about her year-plus-long affair with a potential president of the United States, then keeps it a secret until after that candidate is elected, who’s to say that’s unethical? Criminal, maybe, but unethical? I’m guessing the jury’s still out on that—or will be once he’s indicted for campaign contribution violations.

  2. The legal profession as a mockery, courtesy of Trump- one of his attorneys claims he authored damning tweets which appeared under Don’s name. And now, Cohen explains his $130,000 to a porn star he had no association with but, Trump did associate with. No bar too low.

  3. Prof Turley,

    Out of respect to both you & I, I could not more strongly suggest you pull this thread now & throw it in the trash & we start anew later. 4 your consideration. Thank you.

  4. Turley,

    Enough with your legaleze slander bullsh*t against My/OurPresident.

    I insist you stop yourself now& I won’t be bring unfounded legaleze claims against you as you do against Trump all the time, it seems.

    Please stop yourself, I’ve other very important pressing family matters, don’t press me to take you out preacefully like you were hit by the german 88s as my Uncle buddies were

    Not one more step with your propaganda BullSh*t Turley!!

    DON’T

    So much for your so called Civility Rule! You beat us in the head with Lies & Legaleze Slander & if we say anything, well, we must be Racist, PhK U Commie American Hat’in Trash.

    Your best bet is to shut your Phk Mouth & go forth &Sin no more.

    Fear not, God the Father & his son Jesus Christ are Firmly in Control!

    : Greg Hunter; usawatchdog.com

    • USAYesterday.Com

      Today 2/14/2018 Jonathan Turley has finally sworn in public to stop Raping his dog! Yea, I’ll give him a chance, I think?

      Yes, it’s a bullsh*t story, but it’s just like so many of the legalezeBullsh*t, anti-civilty stories Turleys flushes down his toilet here!

      • Turley,

        I live about 8 miles from the unincorporated town of Turley Ok, that Socialist ,LBJ Dimo that Sh*tholers destroyed after 11/22/63. Yea Jimmie go!! Phk those Commie/Nazie Ahole Progs!

        Turley, I’m a friend of your family, Gene, Mike,ect. Don’t! Please don’t embarrass us as I do not wish to take you down in public. Please don’t!!!
        There is no we without you, me & all the others!

        Ohne Dich

            • Marky Mark Mark – you know artillery officers need tables to hit their as$ in a handbasket. Artillery school just teaches discipline and how to read the sets of tables. And those tables were done by computer. Even then they need spotters to hit the target. You would be lucky to get within 100 feet of the target.

              At Verdun, over 1,000,000 artillery shells were lobbed at the enemy. Really did little damage because they were too dug in.

              Sounds like you are blowing smoke again, Marky Mark Mark.

      • As I posted to Turley I have no time for this type of propaganda Bullsh*t>

        Now answer the Phk’in question: When did you last Rape your Daughter?

        I’ve heard Adam Schifft can sell me Russian pictures of you in action, I’ll check. Responding

        Don’t even think about it.

  5. Spent a couple of hours doing something comparatively relevant in my life, proving to others that politics is a waste of time, because it took back-burner to this project.

    I found an old Atari Telelink II cartridge for my 800 and thought I would try to see if I could make an interesting hack.

    I hooked the Atari 800 to an 835 Direct Connect Modem, to which I connected to a Cellular Base Station and tried to dial up to a city public access system. The 835 does not have the ability to generate DTMF Tones so I placed a regular telephone in the middle to dial out the call. It took a bit of timing to put the telephone on hook at the right time so that the modem and the remote server could talk.

    I think there was too much line noise since I am in a bad area for reception. But surprisingly I was able to receive characters at 300 baud, although they were gibberish for the most part. I didn’t remember if there was a terminal emulation issue with the Atari if it uses ATASCII or ASCII. It’s been nearly 30 years since I used last hacked on this equipment. But if it doesn’t work, at least it might have been odd to use a cell phone hooked up to an early 1980s vintage computer. I tried to put the cellular station into TTY mode but that made things worse.

      • true. The idle hand is the tool of the devil. I wondered if there might be issues in going over cell phone lines, as if the compression loses data.

        I later, as a control, connected a 56k modem to a PC and tried the same circuit. I opened a speaker on the line and it sounded like both computers were greatly pissed-off at each other, judging by the screeching each was howling at the other.

        Probably a lost cause at this point.

        • Darren Smith – while I admire your effort to recapture your yute, sometimes a lost cause is a lost cause. 😉 I, too, remember the bad old days of 300 baud connects (if you could get them to connect) and have tried to block those memories forever. Now you have resurrected them. I am going to have nightmares. 🙂

  6. Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    An interesting post by Professor Turley raising some ethical points.As so often the case the comments in the thread are even more interesting, showcasing the deep divisions in US politics and in many instances both intolerance and huge capacities for self deception.

  7. LOL. Just was reported that 130 people did not have permanent security clearance in the WH, including Jared and Ivanka and the WH lawyer, Don McGahan. So Porter and Kushner who were privy to the highest of the high security briefings and documents weren’t even cleared to do so. And the freaking WH lawyer!!!

    So, no more BS about HRC’s emails, okay?

  8. Well, I guess since Mr. Cohen was anonymously performing a magnanimous act without the knowledge or permission of Pres. Trump, he will not be able to invoke attorney-client privilege when subpoenaed to answer questions about the transaction.

  9. Is anyone seriously stupid enough to believe that Cohen paid Daniels ONE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS from his own pocket with no expectation of recompense, either directly or though salary or other work or benefits from the Trump administration, Trump himself or his family?

    Beyond that, the attorney’s admission clearly supports Daniels’ claim that she and Trump had an affair—something no one in the administration has previously seen fit to admit. Can’t wait to see how the right-wing press handles this now-established fact.

    And finally, since the payment was made prior to the 2016 presidential election, and its only purpose was to keep news of the affair out of the press until after the election, the payoff clearly violates election rules in that it was a “contribution” given to aid Trump be elected.

    So post as much as you want about what pigs previous presidents were in terms of extramarital affairs they had before, during or after their service as president. If that’s what you have to do to avoid facing the reality of the current president’s lies, I feel sorry for you.

  10. An interesting editorial from the Sun that places Trump in the light he deserves. I will quote just one short part.

    “Now, for the frenzied and frightened American Left, the danger is so great that their former bête noire, George W., whose verbal limitations had them splitting their sides with laughter for ten years, now merely brings a nostalgic sigh for the times of so ineffectual and unthreatening an adversary of the inexorable bipartisan march of the liberal elites.

    As was often the case with Mr. Bush when he was president, his remarks in Dubai were unpresidential — an allegation much bandied about against the present president over the past year. In fact, it is a myth even that President Trump is inarticulate. His speech is actually more adroit, fluent, and grammatical than were many of the extempore remarks and answers to press questions of Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Ford, Carter, and both Bushes.

    Mr. Trump is slightly less articulate than Presidents Clinton and Obama, who never said anything memorable but made their points smoothly. Mr. Trump is not as thoughtful a speaker or public conversationalist as John F. Kennedy or Richard Nixon, and not a great orator like Franklin D. Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan. But he handles press questions better than Reagan did, and delivers extempore addresses better and more animatedly and effectively than Mr. Obama did.

    Mr. Trump’s improvised addresses to large crowds of fierce partisans in the heartland of America are effective and always entertaining. But the Washington press corps professed to believe him incapable even of reading a speech off a teleprompter, until after he had sewn up the Republican nomination. His address on foreign policy on April 27, 2016, was the first such teleprompter speech.

    These speeches are now commonplace, and he speaks with authority, holding the podium and looming over it, a large and confident man who enunciates clearly (unlike some of his predecessors), is never flustered, rarely syncopated, and only occasionally repetitive. The emerging fact, which will take a long time to be admitted because it is so unpalatable, is that he looks, and largely sounds, like a president.”

    https://www.nysun.com/national/bush-and-ginsburg-remind-how-long-gone-is-era/90190/

  11. “At issue was not just the alleged affair previously described by Daniels in an interview in 2011m but a payment in 2016 of $130,000 in exchange for a denial of the affair.” Is that extortion? She will only keep quiet about the affair if paid 6 figures; otherwise, she goes public.

    Also, paying off someone you cheated with is not a campaign contribution. It seems rather incredible for an attorney to do this on his own, and I have my doubts about the story.

    Married men – don’t cheat. Be loyal or be single.

    • “Also, paying off someone you cheated with is not a campaign contribution.” True.

      ” It seems rather incredible for an attorney to do this on his own, and I have my doubts about the story.” Whatever the story is, it doesn’t appear to be illegal.

      End of story.

      • It does not seem news for Trump to be unfaithful in the past. He’s on his third marriage, and he was unfaithful to his previous wives. That is his character flaw. It’s kind of like blaring a headline that Trump sent an offensive Tweet. They are denying it, and Daniels has even denied it twice in writing. However, past predicts future. Without some sort of catharsis, I expect Trump to keep cheating.

        It’s salacious news, and there is certainly interest given he’s a public figure, but it’s in a separate realm from his tenure in office.

        We certainly handle things differently then they do in France, where affairs are expected and discreet. I could never live in France.

        It would be a shame if Melania Trump was the first to divorce her husband while he was in office, but it would not be a shock. Melania and Ivanka are actually my favorite ladies in the people’s house.

        • Melania knew the history when she married Trump and Trump knows his own desires. I don’t know why there is so much talk about his personal life. We should focus on what he is doing and presently what he is doing is good for the nation.

  12. “…President Bill Clinton was a guest on “Orgy Island” at least 26 times.”

    MEDIUM – Estéban Trujillo de Gutiérrez

    Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s “Orgy Island.”

    “Then we come to the case of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Mr. Epstein owns an island in the US Virgin Islands known as Little Saint James, or by insiders, as “Orgy Island.”

    Mr. Epstein was in the news because former President Bill Clinton was a guest on “Orgy Island” at least 26 times. Mr. Epstein was reported to procure girls as young as 12 years old to service visitors to the island. Not just for pleasure. Allegations that guests were vulnerable to blackmail after their interactions with underage girls were videotaped were frequent.

  13. “FDR and His Women”

    “… she was deeply wounded to discover that Franklin had been having an affair with her secretary, Lucy Mercer.”

  14. JFK, Monster
    By Timothy Noah

    “I knew that John F. Kennedy was a compulsive, even pathological adulterer, given to taking outlandish risks after he entered the White House. I knew he treated women like whores. And I knew he had more than a few issues with his father about toughness and manliness and all that. But before I read in the newspaper that Mimi Alford’s just-released memoir, Once Upon A Secret: My Affair With President John F. Kennedy And Its Aftermath, described giving Dave Powers a blow job at JFK’s request and in his presence, I didn’t know that Kennedy had an appetite for subjecting those close to him to extreme humiliation.”

  15. “Clinton pays Paula Jones $850,000”

    By Kalpana SrinivasanAssociated Press Writer
    Wed 13 Jan 1999 13.15 EST

    “WASHINGTON (AP) – Paula Jones is awaiting the arrival of an $850,000 cheque from President Clinton, bringing an official end to the four-year saga spurred by her allegations of sexual harassment.

    Clinton mailed the settlement cheque to Mrs. Jones on Tuesday, even as he braced for the heaviest fallout yet from her harassment suit – an impeachment trial in the Senate.

    To finance the settlement, the president drew about $375,000 from his and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s personal funds and got the rest of the money, about $475,000, from an insurance policy, a White House official told The Associated Press.

    “This ends it. The check is being Fed-Exed” to Bill McMillan, one of Mrs. Jones’ lawyers, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The official said the personal funds were drawn from the Clintons’ blind trust, which was valued in their financial disclosure statement at between $1 million and about $5 million. None of the money was drawn from Clinton’s legal defense fund, which raises money from private citizens to defray his legal bills, the official said.”

  16. Bill Clinton as enabled by Hillary Clinton
    _______________________________

    1. Eileen Wellstone (1969) Allegation: Sexual assault

    2. Anonymous female student at Yale University (1972) Allegation: Sexual assault

    3. Anonymous female student at the University of Arkansas (1974) Allegation: Sexual assault

    4. Anonymous female lawyer (1977) Allegation: Sexual assault

    5. Juanita Broaddrick (1978) Allegation: Rape

    6. Carolyn Moffet (1979) Allegation: Sexual assault

    7. Elizabeth Ward (1983) Allegation: Unclear

    8. Sally Perdue (1983) Allegation: Unclear

    9. Paula Jones (1991) Allegation: Sexual harassment

    10. Sandra Allen James (1991) Allegation: Sexual assault

    11. Christy Zercher (1992) Allegation: Sexual assault

    12. Kathleen Willey (1993) Allegation: Sexual assault

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