Lawyer who negotiated Stormy Daniels’ gag order drawn into Michael Cohen investigation

Keith Davidson represented the porn star in deal over alleged affair with Trump and made similar agreements for two former playboy models

Stormy Daniels' attorney predicts Michael Cohen to be charged

The Beverly Hills lawyer who represented two women who were paid in 2016 to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Donald Trump has been drawn into the federal investigation focused on Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer.

That lawyer, Keith Davidson — who finalised another legal agreement with Cohen in recent months — was contacted by federal authorities in the wake of this month’s raid on Mr Cohen’s Manhattan office and has shared records with investigators, a spokesman said.

“Mr Davidson has been contacted by the federal authorities regarding the Michael Cohen probe in the Southern District of New York,” the spokesman, Dave Wedge, said on Friday. “Mr Davidson was asked to provide certain limited electronic information. He has done so and will continue to cooperate to the fullest extent possible under the law.”

Keith Davidson has called Mr Cohen a friend, and this month he defended his professional integrity to CNN  

Mr Davidson has reached multiple agreements with Mr Cohen — one of them negotiated in late 2017, when the men brokered the silence of a Playboy model who had had an affair with a major Republican donor and Trump ally. Mr Cohen also referred business to Mr Davidson after their earlier dealings leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

In 2016, Mr Davidson represented pornographic-film actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in two separate legal agreements that required each woman to keep silent about an alleged sexual relationship with President Trump.

Ms Clifford, who received $130,000 (£93,000) from Mr Cohen weeks before the election, has sued him, seeking to be released from that agreement, which her lawyer has argued is invalid because Mr Trump did not sign the contract.

Ms McDougal similarly sued American Media Inc., the media company that had paid her $150,000 for the rights to her story, arguing that she was deceived into accepting the terms. She said that Mr Davidson, acting as her lawyer, inappropriately pressured her and secretly colluded with Mr Cohen, who was not technically part of the negotiation. This week, AMI, the parent company of The National Enquirer, freed her from that agreement.

Yet another former Playboy model was represented by Mr Davidson in recent months, as he negotiated another agreement with Mr Cohen. Under that contract, Elliott Broidy, the deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, agreed late last year to pay $1.6m (£1.1m) to the woman, who had become pregnant during an affair with Mr Broidy. Mr Broidy resigned last week after reports of the agreement emerged.

Like Ms Clifford and Ms McDougal, the woman who settled with Mr Broidy has sought a new lawyer and is no longer represented by Mr Davidson.

Mr Davidson’s past client list has included professional athletes Jalen Rose and Manny Pacquiao, as well as gossip-page regulars who placed him in the middle of the sex-tape cases of wrestler Hulk Hogan and onetime Playboy model and MTV host Tila Tequila.

Mr Davidson has called Mr Cohen a friend, and this month he defended his professional integrity to CNN and said that Mr Cohen had encouraged him to talk to the media and “spill my guts”.

The investigators who have sought information from him are working separately from special counsel Robert Mueller, although the special counsel’s office referred certain information to them.

Among the evidence that the authorities in New York have seized are recordings of conversations that Cohen secretly made. Davidson, who works out of two offices in Southern California, would need to have agreed to the recording of any phone calls that he and Cohen may have had, as California law requires that both people involved in a conversation consent.

The New York Times

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