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Donald Trump personally repaid lawyer Michael Cohen the $130,000 that was used to buy Stormy Daniels’ silence about an alleged affair, his legal aide Rudy Giuliani has said.

It appears to contradict President Trump, who said he did not know about the payment made by lawyer Michael Cohen to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

Donald Trump has denied Stormy Daniels’ claims of an affair in 2006.

The former New York City mayor said no campaign finance was used, a key issue in the matter.

Rudy Giuliani recently joined President Trump’s legal team and was talking to Sean Hannity on Fox News.

The campaign finance issue appears to be one his main motives – to deny that there was any wrongdoing.

Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election could count as an illegal contribution to President Trump’s campaign.

Image source Wikimedia

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Rudy Giuliani said: “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.

“They funneled it through a law firm and the president repaid it.”

He said the repayment was made “over a period of several months”.

Rudy Giuliani added that the president “didn’t know about the specifics of it, as far as I know, but he did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this”.

When asked by reporters a month ago if he knew about the payment to Stormy Daniels, President Trump said: “No.”

When asked why the payment was given to Stormy Daniels, the president added: “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen.”

President Trump might argue that the lawyer “took care of things like this”, as Rudy Giuliani suggested and that he knew nothing of the “specifics”, making the repayment personally later.

Speaking on Fox TV last week, President Trump suggested some knowledge of the matter in admitting Michael Cohen had represented him during the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal”, but did not go into specifics.

Michael Cohen, for his part, told the New York Times in February: “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”

If Michael Cohen did co-ordinate with the Trump campaign, the $130,000 payment would be a violation of federal election law.

Rudy Giuliani’s comments also raise the question of whether President Trump was repaying an undisclosed loan. Donald Trump’s personal financial disclosure form from June 2017 makes no mention of a debt to Michael Cohen.

Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that Americans “should be outraged” at Rudy Giuliani’s comments.

He tweeted: “We predicted months ago that it would be proven that the American people had been lied to as to the $130k payment and what Mr. Trump knew.”

The payment relates to allegations by Stormy Daniels that she had relations with Donald Trump in 2006, allegations he denies.

After initially denying the payment, Michael Cohen eventually admitted he had paid the sum privately to Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, in October 2016 out of his own funds in exchange for her silence in a non-disclosure agreement.

Michael Cohen denied that Donald Trump was a party to the transaction.

The lawyer is now facing a criminal investigation. FBI agents searched his home and office in New York recently in relation to the nondisclosure agreement.

Two months ago, Stormy Daniels filed a lawsuit against the president, alleging that the agreement was invalid because Donald Trump did not sign it.

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Documents seized from President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen should be reviewed by an independent official, a New York federal judge has ruled.

The so-called special master was named as ex-judge Barbara Jones.

Barbara Jones will review documents seized from Michael Cohen by the FBI to determine if they include confidential communications with his legal clients.

The move comes as President Trump distanced himself from his long-time lawyer.

On April 26, President Trump told Fox News his lawyer was “a good guy” but only one among his “many, many attorneys”.

The president said: “I don’t know his business, but this doesn’t have to do with me. He’s got a business. He also practices law. I would say probably the big thing is his business. And they’re looking at something having to do with his business. I have nothing to do with his business.”

However, President Trump confirmed that Michael Cohen represented him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal”, referring to the actress who alleges she had a relationship with him in 2006.

Donald Trump has denied having relations with Stormy Daniels or any knowledge of the $130,000 payment to her by Michael Cohen during the 2016 presidential campaign. Stormy Daniels accepted the sum in return for signing a non-disclosure agreement.

Image source Wikipedia

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The actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing President Trump and Michael Cohen to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement, claiming it was void because the president did not personally sign it.

Michael Cohen said he will invoke his constitutional right to remain silent in the civil case, arguing it could affect the criminal inquiry into his business affairs.

The DoJ announced earlier this month it was investigating Michael Cohen’s business dealings, rather than his work as a lawyer, following a raid on his home and office.

The April 9 raid on Michael Cohen followed a tip-off by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Russia denies interfering in the election and President Trump has denied any collusion.

It was unclear if any of those seized documents include material relating to Donald Trump’s business dealings.

Legal analysts have said that Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels could have violated the rules on financing Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

On April 26, District Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Barbara Jones would be the first to review the material, before handing over documents prosecutors could use in their case.

Prosecutors had initially said the documents should be reviewed by a separate team of lawyers in their office while Michael Cohen’s lawyers argued they should have the first look, citing some of the material could violate attorney-client privilege.

Judge Kimba Wood said Barbara Jones could meet lawyers as soon as next week, but added she would intervene if the process took too long.

She said: “If at any point it turns out that the special master process is going too slowly, I will revisit it.”

Barbara Jones served as a federal judge for 16 years in the Southern District of New York and is a former organized-crime prosecutor.

The former judge was appointed in 2016 as the independent review officer for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in a corruption case at the labor union.

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Fox News host Sean Hannity has been revealed as the mystery third client of President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen.

A judge ruled that the president’s personal attorney must reveal the link to Sean Hannity.

April 16 hearing in NYC follows an FBI raid this month on Michael Cohen’s home and office, which Sean Hannity has called an anti-Trump “witch hunt”.

A vocal Trump advocate, Sean Hannity denied he was a client of Michael Cohen.

Sean Hannity, who is known for passionately defending Donald Trump on his Fox News show against what he describes as biased attacks by the media, had never previously divulged any legal ties to the president’s attorney.

FBI agents who raided Michael Cohen’s home and evidence were looking for evidence on various matters, including a $130,000 payment made to actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Donald Trump and was paid “hush money”.

During April 16 hearing, the judge deny Michael Cohen’s attempts to prevent prosecutors from reviewing the materials seized in the FBI raids.

Image source Wikimedia

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President Trump’s attorney says the computers, phones and documents should be protected under attorney-client privilege.

However, Judge Kimba Wood ruled his application for a preliminary injunction was premature.

She allowed prosecutors to proceed with the cataloguing of evidence seized in the raids while a system is set up to ensure that records protected by attorney-client privilege are not disclosed to investigators.

However, the judge will also consider appointing a “special master” to play a supervisory role in the process.

Just before hearing, Michael Cohen said in a statement that he had only provided advice to three clients in the past year.

One was Donald Trump. Another was a Republican fundraiser who admitted to paying a former Playboy model after she became pregnant during their affair.

The third client, Michael Cohen said, had refused to give him permission to be publicly named.

However, Judge Wood made one of the lawyers identify Sean Hannity.

There were gasps and some laughter in the courtroom after the announcement, and some journalists raced out of the courtroom to report the revelation.

Sean Hannity responded on Twitter: “In response to some wild speculation, let me make clear that I did not ask Michael Cohen to bring this proceeding on my behalf, I have no personal interest in this proceeding, and, in fact, asked that my de minimis discussions with Michael Cohen, which dealt almost exclusively about real estate, not be made a part of this proceeding.”

He later issued a statement of denial, saying: “Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter.

“I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.

“I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third party.”

After last week’s raid on Michael Cohen’s offices, Sean Hannity took to the airwaves to denounce the probe as a “declared war against the president of the United States”.

Also in the Manhattan federal court was Stormy Daniels, whose appearance triggered a scrum by photographers outside.

Michael Cohen has admitted making a payment to Stormy Daniel, who claims the money was to keep her quiet about an affair she says she had with Donald Trump in 2006.

The president’s attorney says he made the payment just before the 2016 election, but maintains Donald Trump did not know about it.

Michael Cohen is facing a criminal inquiry, which President Trump has strongly criticized.

According to legal analysts, the payoff to Stormy Daniels could amount to a campaign finance violation.

The White House has denied President Trump had an extramarital affair.