Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has contradicted the US president's comments on payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump still denies having had a sexual relationship with the actress.
Donald Trump's recently hired lawyer and former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, said on Wednesday that Donald Trump repaid his other lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a non-disclosure agreement settled with porn star Stormy Daniels. The claim appears to contradict Trump's past comments on the matter: While Cohen acknowledges that the payment took place, Trump has denied any knowledge of it and says he did not have sexual relations with Daniels.
Stormy Daniels says that Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen had paid her the $130,000 to remain quiet during the presidential campaign about an alleged affair she had with Trump. Cohen later admitted to having made the payment, but it wasn't clear whether Trump had known.
What Giuliani said
Rudy Giuliani made the statement during an interview with TV station Fox News on Wednesday, saying that the payment was "perfectly legal" and that Trump was aware of the basic details.
"He didn't know about the specifics of it, as far as I know. But he did know about the general arrangement, that Michael would take care of things like this, like I take care of things like this for my clients. I don't burden them with every single thing that comes along. These are busy people," Giuliani said.
Guiliani then said that Trump's debt to Michael Cohen was "funneled through the law firm and the president repaid it" over the course of several months, which would mean that the payments could have possibly continued through the campaign and presidential transition.
Trump's lawyer defended the payments, saying they would "turn out to be perfectly legal" because "that money was not campaign money."
Trump's repeated denials
President Trump has repeatedly denied the alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, and has questioned the nature of Cohen's payment to her. On April 5, Trump said to reporters that he did not know why Cohen made the payment and where the money came from. The White House did not respond to the comments made by Giuliani on Wednesday.
Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, responded to Giuliani's comment, calling it "a stunning revelation."
"Mr. Trump evidently has participated in a felony and there must be serious consequences for his conduct and his lies and deception to the American people," Avenatti said.
Payments could be illegal
Giuliani's comments could spell trouble for President Trump, as Michael Cohen's payments to the porn star could represent an illegal contribution if they were made on behalf of then-candidate Trump.
Cohen is currently being investigated by the FBI, which conducted a raid on his office last month and seized information related to the payments made to Stormy Daniels.
jcg/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)