World

Trump lawyer says he paid $172,000 to porn star linked to president

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump's personal lawyer told the New York Times on Tuesday he paid US$130,000 (S$172,000) of his own money to a porn star who once said she had an affair with Mr Trump.

Long-time Trump attorney Michael Cohen said he was not reimbursed for the payment to the actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford and who goes by the stage name of Stormy Daniels, the Times reported.

Mr Cohen declined to give details such as why he made it or if Mr Trump was aware of the payment at the time.

"Neither the Trump Organisation nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly," Mr Cohen told the Times."The payment to Ms Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone."

US media reports have said the payment, one month before the November 2016 election, was to keep the liaison quiet.

Mr Trump was a private citizen when the 2006 sexual encounter with Clifford allegedly took place.

He was married at the time and his wife Melania had given birth to their son less than four months earlier.

The payment was first reported last month by the Wall Street Journal. Mr Cohen's statement to the Times marked the first time he acknowledged a role in what he termed a "private transaction."

Mr Trump, through his lawyers, and Clifford, 38, have both denied anything ever went on between them. But last month the celebrity magazine In Touch published a 2011 interview with Clifford in which she spoke of their relationship and what she described as their "textbook generic" sex. - AFP

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