Donald Trump presumably wanted to keep the Stormy Daniels hush money hushed, but his lawyer left a trail.
Trump lawyer Michael Cohen started an LLC company in Delaware to secretly pay the former porn star $130,000 to keep quiet about her sexual encounters with Trump since 2006, but he put his own name on the company’s incorporating documents, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday morning. The whole point of starting a limited liability corporation in the state of Delaware is to avoid doing exactly that.
The private company, Essential Consultants LLC, was founded in October of 2016, just weeks before the presidential election. Starting the company in Delaware was meant to provide secrecy — Delaware doesn’t require companies in the state to list any managers — but Cohen listed himself as the company’s “authorized person.”
The settlement between Trump and Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, was shrouded in secrecy. They used pseudonyms, referring to the former porn star as “Peggy Peterson,” according to the Journal.
And though Trump and Clifford both have recently denied that they had any sexual relationship, in 2011 Clifford detailed the encounter in an interview with InTouch. The full interview is online as of Friday morning.
In the weeks prior to the 2016 election, several publications were chasing down the story. Fox reportedly spiked the story it had about Trump’s relationship with Clifford, according to CNN. Slate, too, was close to breaking the story. Clifford cut off contact with them just weeks before the election, according to the Washington Post.