Porn star Stormy Daniels’ former attorney Keith Davidson said a $130,000 payout he orchestrated for her silence about an alleged affair with Donald Trump was for “political reasons” related to the 2016 election.
Davidson, who also represented Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who reportedly received a Trump payout of her own, dropped the bombshell in an ABC News interview on Monday. If true, the statement may add to evidence already provided by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that the president broke campaign finance laws by failing to report payments related to the election.
Davidson told ABC that it wasn’t until the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump was heard bragging about sexual assault that a settlement for Daniels became more important for Trump’s representatives. Davidson said the tape, which surfaced in October 2016 ― the month before the election ― was “the motivating factor in this case resolving.”
Trump’s then-fixer Cohen missed an earlier payout deadline for a Daniels settlement, Davidson said, effectively nixing their agreement. However, things changed after the “Access Hollywood” recording emerged.
“It defeats the argument that this was done purely for personal reasons,” Davidson said. “It was done for political reasons. The natural conclusion is that after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, that something like this could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Trump last week tweeted that checks Cohen said were reimbursement for the hush money “was not a campaign contribution” and that “there were no violations of the campaign finance laws by me.”
That claim directly contradicts Davidson’s account.
Cohen, during his testimony before the House oversight committee last month, presented copies of two 2017 checks, each for $35,000, made out to him and signed by Trump. Cohen said both were reimbursement for Daniels’ payout.
“I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help Mr. Trump hide that payment from the American people before they voted a few days later,” Cohen testified.
Trump has repeatedly castigated his former lawyer as a liar on Twitter.
Daniels turned on Davidson in a lawsuit in June, calling him a “puppet” for Trump and Cohen. She also accused him of plotting with Cohen to pressure her to deny the alleged affair on Fox News.
Davidson retaliated against Daniels with a defamation suit that also targeted her current lawyer, Michael Avenatti. Davidson dropped the suit in August, according to a tweet from Avenatti.