OAN retracts article falsely claiming Michael Cohen had affair with Stormy Daniels

OAN published an article falsely claiming Donald Trump’s former ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen had an affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels starting in 2006

Gustaf Kilander
Washington DC
Tuesday 30 April 2024 17:52 BST
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The far-right One America News Network has retracted an article that falsely stated that Michael Cohen had an affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Cohen facilitated a $130,000 hush money payment to Ms Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged 2006 affair with Donald Trump ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Now, Mr Trump is on criminal trial in Manhattan facing 34 counts of falsifying business records over those hush money payments. The former president has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has denied an affair took place.

Cohen, Mr Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” who has served time in prison for campaign finance violations and other crimes, is central to the case against Mr Trump and is expected to be one of the prosecution’s star witnesses at trial.

On 27 March, OAN published an article quoting a post from an X user who falsely claimed to have obtained information in 2018 from Michael Avenatti – Ms Daniels’ lawyer at the time. The post stated that Cohen had an affair with Ms Daniels starting in 2006, adding that Cohen made up the hush money scenario to extort the Trump Organization ahead of the 2016 election.

In a statement on Monday, OAN announced that the story – Whistleblower: Avenatti Alleged Cohen­ Daniels Affair Since 2006, Pre-2016 Trump Extortion Plan – was being taken down from all sites and social media.

The retraction was reached as part of a settlement with Cohen, the network added.

“Mr Avenatti has denied making the allegations. OAN apologizes to Mr Cohen for any harm the publication may have caused him,” OAN said.

The network added that it was Cohen who “alerted” the network to the inaccuracy of the article.

“To be clear, no evidence suggests that Mr Cohen and Ms Daniels were having an affair and no evidence suggests that Mr Cohen ‘cooked up’ the scheme to extort the Trump Organization before the 2016 election,” OAN said.

Michael Cohen, former attorney for Donald Trump, arrives at a courthouse in New York City on 13 March 2023
Michael Cohen, former attorney for Donald Trump, arrives at a courthouse in New York City on 13 March 2023 (REUTERS)

“The notion that right before the election I would extort the man I fervently supported and believed was about to become president, all to make $130,000 that I did not even keep for myself, is beyond absurd. It’s just plain stupid,” Cohen said, according to OAN.

He went on to say that he first met Ms Daniels for a 2021 podcast interview.

Avenatti, who is currently serving a prison sentence for extortion and fraud, said in a statement to OAN that “you folks should be smarter than to believe this nonsense”.

“The story is completely fabricated, untrue and bogus, and is nothing more than a ridiculous attempt by this idiot [the Source] to try and escape being a nobody,” he said.

Ms Daniels also rejected the notion that she had an affair with Cohen in a post on X.

“OAN’s reckless reporting and publication of such a sensational claim endeavoring to disparage two likely witnesses in the Trump criminal trial is evidence of OAN’s desperation to service their true master,” her attorney Clark Brewster said in a statement.

“Stormy is presently reviewing her options regarding OAN’s actionable conduct.”

Cohen said in a statement: “I am pleased that OAN has agreed to retract this story and has acknowledged that the statement is false.

“While this settlement cannot undo the harm that the publication caused me, it is important to set the record straight-which is what this settlement does.”

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