Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump acknowledged on Thursday that his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, represented him in a “deal” involving porn star Stormy Daniels.
Trump had previously denied knowledge of a $130,000 payment Cohen made to Daniels that she claims was to prevent her from talking about their alleged 2006 affair.
Trump, in a wide-ranging telephone interview with “Fox and Friends,” admitted for the first time that Cohen represented him in a “deal” with Daniels, who has filed a lawsuit seeking to have the “hush agreement” negotiated by Cohen thrown out.
Trump said Cohen represented him on only a “tiny, tiny little fraction” of his “overall legal work.”
“He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me,” Trump said.
“And, you know, from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong,” Trump said. “There were no campaign funds going into this.”
Asked by reporters on Air Force One earlier this month about the payment to Daniels, Trump had said he was not aware of it.
“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael,” he said.
– ‘Michael is a good person’ –
The payment to Daniels was made just days before the November 2016 presidential election and there have been suggestions it may have been a violation of campaign finance laws.
Cohen’s New York home and office were raided by the FBI this month as part of an unspecified criminal investigation and Trump sought in the “Fox and Friends” interview to distance himself from his longtime personal attorney.
“Michael is a good person,” Trump said. “He’s really a businessman, fairly big business as I understand it.
“They’re looking at something having to do with his business,” Trump said. “I have nothing to do with his business, I can tell you.
“I have many attorneys,” Trump went on. “Sadly I have so many attorneys you wouldn’t even believe it.”
Trump was also asked about Cohen’s decision to plead the Fifth Amendment in a case brought by Daniels over the hush agreement.
The Fifth Amendment grants someone the constitutional right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination.
“His lawyers probably told him to do that,” Trump said. “But I’m not involved and I’ve been told I’m not involved.”
In the Daniels case in Los Angeles, Cohen is asking to delay proceedings for 90 days, arguing that any statements he might make could affect the criminal investigation into his business dealings in New York.