An adult film actress who said she had an affair with President Donald Trump called off a nondisclosure agreement just weeks before the 2016 elections because his lawyer failed to fork over the money in time.
On Oct. 17, Stormy Daniels’ attorney threatened to call off the deal by the end of the day. And while Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen created a shell company to send over the payment that morning, the money never arrived, The Washington Post reported.
Later that same day, Keith Davidson wrote, “Please be advised that my client deems her settlement agreement canceled and voided.”
It wasn’t until Oct. 27 – just 11 days before the election – that the $130,000 was transferred from Essential Consultants LLC to a client-trust account for Daniels, who claimed she had sex with Trump in 2006, just months after first lady Melania Trump gave birth to son Barron.
Davidson’s threats to cancel the deal came shortly after the infamous “grab them by the p–-y” tape threatened to upend Trump’s candidacy and prompted a growing number of women to publicly accuse him of sexual harassment and assault.
With the $130,000 payment secured, news of the hush money and the alleged affair didn’t break until January 2018.
While Cohen initially denied both the payment and the affair, he later confirmed the payout and defended the president by claiming he paid Daniels with his own money.
“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction … and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen said last month.
Research group American Bridge and a government watchdog group Common Cause have since filed complaints to the Federal Election Commission alleging the payment breaks campaign finance laws because it was not reported as an in-kind contribution.
Noting that Trump had not decided to reach a nondisclosure agreement in the decade after the alleged affair, American Bridge wrote the payment was “made for the purpose of influencing the presidential election” rather than just protecting Trump’s reputation.
Common Cause also claims the money was intended to influence the election and constituted an illegal in-kind contribution because it exceeded the $2,700 donation limit.
Two other FEC complaints surround a reported $150,000 payment American Media made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal in what appears to be an attempt to “catch and kill” her story about a nine-month affair with Trump.
On Friday, Democratic U.S. Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Kathleen Rice of New York called for an FBI investigation into the payments, calling them “evidence of moral failings by the president.”