Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Claims Trump Funded Hush Money in Court"

Prosecutors delve into secretive deals during 2016 election campaign.

by Nouman Rasool
Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Claims Trump Funded Hush Money in Court"
© Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images

Keith Davidson represents Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress, and Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model, in the high-stakes Manhattan courtroom drama that may just see him swept up into the controversy swirling around hush-money transactions purportedly funded by former President Donald Trump.

In his testimony, Davidson shed light on the legal and financial maneuvering backstage at the law firm, including the $130,000 payment to Daniels that lies at the center of the case the Manhattan district attorney is building against the former president.

The trial brought out the adversarial relationship that existed between Davidson and Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen. Davidson revealed one particularly acrimonious exchange that went down in 2011 when rumors of a liaison between Daniels and Trump hit a gossip blog.

In an email to ABC News, Cohen argued vehemently with Davidson for alleged leaks he believed they were making, alleging Daniels and her manager. Though it seethed, the story never reached publication as Davidson was able to extinguish it through a cease and desist demand.

2016 'Catch and Kill'

The prosecution had turned the narrative to the 2016 presidential campaign, during which Cohen had acted on behalf of Trump in a "catch and kill" operation. The operation, according to prosecutors, had been to bury politically sensitive stories about alleged affairs with Daniels and McDougal.

Prosecutors also noted the fact that the deal was negotiated in secret and that McDougal's story had been sold to American Media for $150,000, which Davidson said was meant to never run. Davidson also provided insights into the inner workings of these negotiations, describing his reluctance to deal directly with Cohen, whom he found disagreeable from past encounters.

However, the turning point came with the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, which reinvigorated interest in Daniels' story. Despite American Media's disinterest, Cohen took over, orchestrating a deal directly with Davidson. The intricacies of the agreements were underscored by the use of pseudonyms in the Daniels agreement, a common practice in sensitive legal dealings, according to Davidson.

Yet, securing the payment from Cohen proved challenging, leading Davidson to suspect that Cohen lacked the authority to finalize the payment without Trump's approval. The ongoing courtroom proceedings are expected to further unravel the details of this alleged conspiracy, keeping public and media interest piqued in what has become a landmark case.