In October 2016, porn star Stormy Daniels received $130,000 to deny she had an affair with Trump in 2006. Trump’s attorney paid Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal $150,000 for signing a non-disclosure agreement that summer. (Fox News)
“So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution,” Trump tweeted.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, recently admitted in a plea deal to violating federal campaign finance laws by arranging payments to Daniels and McDougal on Trump’s behalf, according to the plea. Prosecutors on Friday released a sentencing memo calling for Cohen to a “substantial term of imprisonment” for the president’s former fixer.
Trump attacked his former lawyer, saying that Cohen – and only Cohen – would be liable if a mistake occurred.
….which it was not (but even if it was, it is only a CIVIL CASE, like Obama’s – but it was done correctly by a lawyer and there would not even be a fine. Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me). Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced. WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2018
Legal experts remain unimpressed with prosecutors’ charges of campaign finance violations as outlined in Cohen’s sentencing memo.
Dan Backer, campaign finance and political law attorney, told Forbes there’s no corroborating evidence linking Trump to impropriety.
Backer, a veteran campaign counsel, said it is common practice for high-profile individuals and companies to take part in these kinds of payment arrangements. He said Trump is a brand, he has carried out similar payments for years and these so-called “hush-buys” will likely continue.
“Brand protection is not a campaign contribution,” he told the magazine.
The Justice Department memo does not mention Trump by name but refers to an “Individual-1,” who became president in 2017.