Rudy Giuliani, legal aide to U.S. President Donald Trump and former New York City mayor, said Trump personally repaid his lawyer the $130,000 “hush” money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels over an alleged affair, apparently contradicting the president’s previous denials about prior knowledge of the payments.
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Giuliani said no campaign funding from Trump’s presidential bid was used, a key issue because lawyer Michael Cohen’s payment to Daniels (née Stephanie Clifford) could count as an illegal contribution to the campaign. “That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation,” Giuliani told Fox News presenter Sean Hannity.
But the former mayor’s statement appears to contradict Trump’s statements about the payments. The president has said he didn’t know about the payments ahead of the presidential election. Giuliani said that Trump didn’t know about the details of the payments, “but he did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this”.
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The issue touches upon whether the payment to Daniels was campaign related. If so, Cohen’s payment could be construed as a loan and would breach strict U.S. campaign finance laws, which cap the amount individuals – but not candidates – can contribute to presidential campaigns.
On May 5, Giuliani said he would not rule out the possibility that payments were made to women other than Daniels to get them to stay silent about accusations against Trump.
Giuliani told ABC’s “This Week” that he did not know if Cohen had made other payments but he said: “I would think if it was necessary, yes. He (Cohen) made payments for the president or he’s conducted business for the president.”
In response Stormy Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, called Giuliani’s performance a “train wreck.” (ABCNews)
“I mean, what we witnessed by Rudy Giuliani may be one of the worst TV appearances by any attorney on behalf of a client in modern times … I mean, this guy’s all over the map over the last 72 hours on some very simple facts that should be very straightforward.”