02:25 GMT +319 August 2019
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    Adult film actress Stormy Daniels speaks to members of the media after a hearing at federal court, Monday, April 16, 2018, in New York, as she is accompanied by her attorney Michael Avenatti.

    Unsealed Court Documents Reveal Trump-Cohen Messages Over Porn Star Coverup

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    Documents ordered unsealed by a US federal judge on Wednesday have revealed communications between Donald Trump, his 2016 election team, and Michael Cohen, his lawyer at the time, concerning covering up affairs Trump had with both adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

    The documents were those used by a US federal court in 2018 to justify a search warrant for Cohen’s home and office in pursuit of proof that Cohen had directed hush payments from Trump’s campaign to Daniels and McDougal. 

    "The campaign finance violations discussed in the materials are a matter of national importance," US District Judge William Pauley said in court Wednesday. "Now that the government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the materials."

    The massive release made available some 900 pages of previously secret documents.

    The application for the search warrant notes a phone call on October 8, 2016 - just weeks before the 2016 presidential election - involving Trump, Cohen, and campaign press secretary Hope Hicks, which prosecutors believed was a discussion about making the hush payment to Daniels.

    Other communications that same day were believed by prosecutors to signal coordination with Keith Davidson, Daniels’ attorney at the time, in order to facilitate the payment so as to stop Daniels from selling the salacious story to a tabloid outlet like the National Enquirer or Daily Mail.

    The FBI subsequently raided Cohen’s law office at the firm Squire Patton Boggs in Rockefeller Plaza, as well as his home and a hotel room in Loews Regency Hotel, where he had been staying during a home renovation, on April 9, 2018. 

    Agents seized emails, tax and business documents, as well as recordings of phone conversations made by Cohen and a variety of other records, including those related to a leaked recording of Trump on the TV show “Access Hollywood” in 2005, in which the real estate mogul boasted of sexually assaulting women. The tape was released just weeks before the 2016 election and caused numerous leading Republicans to jump ship on his campaign.

    Trump previously maintained he knew nothing about the hush payments and even attempted to deny the affairs took place, but the documents prove what had previously been reported by those close to the situation: that he played a central role in coordinating the womens’ silence.

    Cohen wound up pleading guilty to campaign finance law violations in August 2018, admitting he funnelled $130,000 to Daniels and $150,000 to McDougal. 

    Trump’s lawyers failed to enforce the non-disclosure agreement after Daniels blabbed, but she later was ordered to pay $293,000 to the US president as reimbursement for court fees after she attempted to bring a defamation suit against him for things he said about her to the public.

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    Tags:
    warrant, released, documents, court, Hush Payments, Karen McDougal, Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen
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