Stormy Daniels's Former Lawyer Cooperating in Cohen Probe
(Bloomberg) -- The former attorney for two women who claim they were paid to keep quiet about having sex with Donald Trump before he was elected president is cooperating with a criminal investigation of Trump’s lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen.
Keith Davidson, who represented porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, has provided evidence to U.S. investigators in Manhattan, according to a spokesman. The move shows prosecutors are closely scrutinizing payments to women in the run-up to Trump’s 2016 election.
"Mr. Davidson was asked to provide certain limited electronic information," his spokesman, Dave Wedge, said in an email. "He has done so and will continue to cooperate to the fullest extent possible under the law.” Davidson’s cooperation was reported earlier by the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Investigators armed with search warrants on April 9 seized documents, computers, phones and a safe-deposit box from Cohen’s home, office and hotel room. Prosecutors told a Manhattan judge he’s the target of an investigation of his business and financial dealings. Some of the evidence in the government’s hands concerns episodes in Trump’s private life that posed a potential threat to his candidacy and that may now endanger his presidency.
Trump, in a series of Twitter messages Saturday, said he is confident Cohen won’t "flip."
“Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!" the president wrote.
Cohen negotiated a $130,000 payment to Daniels, who was represented by Davidson, in the run-up to the 2016 election. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims she had sex with Trump in 2006. Cohen has said he drew on a home-equity loan to make the payment without Trump’s knowledge and that he wasn’t reimbursed.
Davidson also represented McDougal in negotiating a $150,000 payment from American Media Inc., owner of the National Enquirer, in exchange for rights to her claim that she had an affair with Trump that started in 2006. McDougal later sued, claiming Davidson secretly colluded with Cohen in the deal, against her interests. She claimed the AMI payment was tied to a "catch and kill" agreement -- intended to keep the story from becoming public -- because AMI owner David Pecker is a Trump friend.
McDougal on Wednesday settled her suit on terms that free her from
restrictions on telling her story.
Davidson also represented another former Playboy model who was paid $1.6 million by former Republican National Committee official Elliott Broidy. Broidy said he made the payment with Cohen’s legal help, after he impregnated the woman, who had an abortion.
Davidson has denied any wrongdoing in connection with his representation of Daniels and McDougal.
“Attorney Davidson has represented a few clients referred to him from a variety of different sources in which opposing counsel was Michael Cohen," Wedge said in an email statement. "He is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of lawyers Attorney Davidson has dealt with over his 18 years as a lawyer. Their relationship is purely professional and they have met in person only a couple of times in professional settings.”
Davidson always acted in his clients’ best interests and "and strenuously denies any insinuations of unethical or inappropriate behavior," according to the statement.
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