An attorney for an adult film actress who claims to have had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump said Wednesday there is “no question” the president was aware of a $130,000 payment made to the woman as part of a non-disclosure agreement in the final days of the 2016 election.
Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has said he made the payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, with his own money. He said that neither the Trump campaign nor the Trump Organization was involved in the transaction and that he has not been reimbursed for it.
But Michael Avenatti, an attorney for Daniels, told NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday that he believes Trump knew about the $130,000 payment. His interview came after Daniels filed a lawsuit against Trump in Los Angeles in an effort to void the non-disclosure agreement, saying Trump, who Avenatti said is referred to by an alias in the document, never signed it.
“There's no question the president knew about it at the time,” Avenatti said of the payment. “The idea that an attorney would go off on his own without his client's knowledge and engage in this type of negotiation and enter into this type of agreement, quite honestly, I think is ludicrous.”
The lawyer also cast doubt on Cohen’s claim regarding the source of the $130,000, telling “Today” that “it's highly questionable as to whether it came from his personal funds.”
Avenatti declined to say whether Daniels was still in possession of text messages or images related to her alleged affair with Trump. He was insistent that Daniels was not coming forward with the intent to profit from her story, but he declined to rule out the possibility that she might seek payment for it in the future.
Avenatti also said that Daniels may have to return the $130,000 payment if her lawsuit against the president is successful and that she is prepared to do so.
Allegations that Daniels had an affair with Trump surfaced in a January Wall Street Journal report, which included details of Cohen’s payment to the actress. Daniels released a statement denying that she had had an affair with Trump. But “In Touch” magazine published a 2011 interview with Daniels in which she detailed the affair, which she said began in 2006, months after the birth of the now-president’s youngest son.
Daniels has since been more coy, dodging questions in an interview on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and embarking on a “Make America Horny Again” tour of strip clubs.