In a recent development in the legal saga involving former US President Donald Trump and his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, the two men have reportedly settled a lawsuit over the confidentiality agreement that Cohen signed in 2016 regarding payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The terms of the settlement, which was reached out of court, have not been disclosed, but it is believed to involve financial compensation for Cohen.
The origins of the case date back to the 2016 presidential campaign, when Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) claimed that she had an affair with Trump in 2006, shortly after his wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron. Trump denied the allegation, but it became a major media story after Cohen admitted in 2018 that he had paid Daniels $130,000 in hush money just before the election, using funds from a shell company that he had set up. Cohen claimed that he had acted on Trump’s orders and that the payment was intended to prevent the story from becoming public and damaging Trump’s chances of winning.
In March 2018, Daniels filed a lawsuit against Trump and Cohen, seeking to invalidate the confidentiality agreement on the grounds that it was invalid and unenforceable. The lawsuit alleged that Trump had never signed the agreement himself, that Cohen had breached it by speaking publicly about the payment, and that the whole arrangement was part of a scheme to silence Daniels and cover up Trump’s alleged infidelity.
Cohen initially denied the allegations and argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed, but later changed his tune and admitted that the agreement was binding and that he had violated it by disclosing details of the payment to the media. He also claimed that he had acted independently and that Trump had no knowledge of the payment until after it had been made. Trump, for his part, denied any wrongdoing and accused Cohen of lying to reduce his own legal exposure.
The lawsuit had been dragging on for several years, with both sides exchanging barbs and legal filings, until the recent news that they had reached a settlement. The terms of the settlement are confidential, but it is believed that Cohen received some form of financial compensation from Trump, either as part of the settlement or as a separate agreement. Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, issued a statement saying that his client was “pleased to have this chapter of the saga behind him”.
The settlement is unlikely to have major legal or political implications, but it does shed some light on the relationship between Trump and Cohen, which has been the subject of much speculation and scrutiny. Cohen, who was once one of Trump’s most loyal and trusted advisors, has since become a vocal critic of his former boss and has cooperated extensively with federal prosecutors investigating Trump’s business and political dealings. Trump, meanwhile, has denounced Cohen as a “rat” and a “liar” and has accused him of fabricating stories to save his own skin.
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