Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has acknowledged paying a porn star in October 2016 — weeks before the Presidential vote — over an alleged affair with Trump.

Cohen insisted that the $130,000 paid to Stephanie Clifford, whose screen name was Stormy Daniels, was his own money:

In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford. Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.

Cohen reportedly created a private LLC to pay Clifford over the July 2006 encounter with Trump at a golf tournament. His announcement on Tuesday tried to rebut speculation that the payment came from the Trump Organization or even Trump campaign funds.

In January, the organization Common Cause filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department that the payment was a campaign finance violation. Cohen maintained Tuesday, “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

The lawyer said he filed a reply with the FEC, but this will not be made public until the agency has resolved the matter.

Last month, after the initial reports of the payment, Cohen said Trump “vehemently denies” any encounter with Clifford/Daniels.

Asked yesterday why he gave the porn star $130,000 if her story was false, Cohen replied, “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.”

He would not say if Trump was aware of the payment.

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