FBI raids Donald Trump’s personal lawyer’s office 'for Stormy Daniels payment documents'

Daniels alleges that she had an affair with Mr Trump in 2006, months after Melania gave birth to Barron Trump

Clark Mindock
New York
Monday 09 April 2018 22:15 BST
Donald Trump denies knowledge of lawyer's $130,000 payment Stormy Daniels

The FBI has raided the offices of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump‘s personally attorney, and have seized records related to his 2016 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, according to reports.

Federal prosecutors obtained the search warrant after special counsel Robert Mueller sent a referral, according to Mr Cohen’s lawyer, who said the search was “completely inappropriate and unnecessary”.

It does not appear as though the search, which was first reported by the New York Times, was related to Mr Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, but likely resulted from information his team provided to federal prosecutors in New York.

“Today the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” Stephen Ryan, Mr Cohen’s lawyer, said. “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”

Mr Cohen said earlier this year that he had paid Daniels – a porn star who says she had an affair with Mr Trump over a decade ago – $130,000 (£92,000) just before the 2016 US election in exchange for her signing a non-disclosure agreement regarding her interactions with Mr Trump.

Mr Ryan said that his client has cooperated with authorities, and has turned over thousands of documents to congressional investigators who are looking into Russian election meddling. The payment to Daniels – whose real name is Stephanie Clifford – is one of several topics being investigated by the FBI. The intelligence agency reportedly seized emails, tax documents, and business records in addition to the documents related to the 2016 payment, sources told the New York Times.

Stormy Daniels claims she was threatened to 'leave Trump alone' over alleged affair

The seized documents also reportedly include some communications between Mr Trump and Mr Cohen, which could require a special team of agents to review since conversations between clients and their lawyers are generally protected from outside scrutiny.

Daniels has been at the centre of controversy since her alleged affair with Mr Trump – which the president and the White House has denied – was first reported on earlier this year.

Since it was exposed that she had had an alleged affair, and that she had been paid by a close associate of Mr Trump just before the election, she has filed a lawsuit challenging the nondisclosure agreement on the grounds that Mr Trump had not himself signed the document. Daniels’ lawyer has otherwise suggested that his client signed the document under some form of duress, but has not indicated in what way she was allegedly forced to sign the document.

Daniels has decided to come forward with her story since the first reports, and gave an interview to Anderson Cooper on CBS’ 60 Minutes in which she detailed her alleged affair with Mr Trump. The president and his legal team have demanded that she pay $20m (£14m) for allegedly violating the nondisclosure agreement.

The allegations stem from a reported encounter between Daniels and Mr Trump in July of 2006 at a golf resort in Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California and Nevada border. Daniels says that she met Mr Trump – whose wife Melania had given birth to their son Barron just months earlier – in his hotel room and that they had engaged in intercourse at that time.

Mr Trump allegedly propositioned or had sex with at least four women during the golf tournament that was being held there at the time. Three of those women are said to have been porn stars and one was allegedly a Playboy model.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in