National News

Trump denies knowing of any hush money paid to porn actress

Posted April 5, 2018 6:37 p.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2018 6:59 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump denied Thursday knowing of a $130,000 payment his lawyer made to a pornographic film actress who claims to have had a sexual encounter with him, referring questions about the transaction to his personal lawyer.

Trump made his first public remarks about the matter on Air Force One as he returned to Washington from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, where he had held a round table on tax cuts. Asked by a reporter whether he knew about the payment to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, known in her films as Stormy Daniels, he said, “No.”

Asked why Michael D. Cohen, his personal lawyer, had made the payment, Trump said, “You’ll have to ask Michael.”

The president said he did not know where the money had come from.

Clifford has said that she was paid $130,000 before the 2016 election to buy her silence. She is now suing Trump to abrogate a nondisclosure agreement that was supposed to prevent her from discussing her relationship. She claims the agreement is null and void because Trump never signed it.

Clifford’s pugnacious lawyer, Michael Avenatti, quickly responded to the president on Twitter, pressing to use legal discovery to expose the back-and-forth around the $130,000 payment. He accused Trump of a “feigned lack of knowledge” about the payment. And he repeated his desire to depose Trump in a legal proceeding.

“As history teaches us, it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath,” Avenatti wrote.