- David Schwartz, the attorney representing Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, suggested that Trump wasn’t involved in Cohen’s financial agreement with the porn star Stormy Daniels.
- A formal federal prosecutor argued that Schwartz’s assertion would mean that “there was no contract between Trump and Daniels” and that she would therefore not be required to keep silent about the affair she says she had with Trump.
The attorney representing Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, made a statement that could have resounding implications for the ongoing legal fight with the porn actress Stormy Daniels.
On Wednesday, Cohen’s attorney, David Schwartz, suggested that Trump was not aware of the nondisclosure agreement that Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, signed in October 2016. She says the agreement was designed to keep her from talking about an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006. Cohen has acknowledged paying Daniels $US130,000 but has denied the affair.
Schwartz suggested Cohen had acted independently of Trump in orchestrating the agreement.
“Because he’s that close to him, he had great latitude to handle these matters,” Schwartz said in a CNN interview.
“Michael was the ‘fixer,'” Schwartz said. “It could be anything. There were a ton of matters that took place that Michael fixed. And Donald Trump wasn’t involved in every single matter.”
But Schwartz said Trump leaned on Cohen for many things.
“It could be any business problem,” Schwartz said. “And believe me, Michael Cohen got calls at 3 in the morning, Michael and I would be at dinner, the boss would be calling him all the time. So there were always problems. In any business there’s always a problem.”
The former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti scrutinised Schwartz’s argument after the CNN segment aired, tweeting that the attorney’s suggestion that Trump was unaware of the agreement could actually be good news for Daniels.
It would mean “there was no contract between Trump and Daniels, and Daniels can release the materials,” Mariotti argued on Twitter.
“Why would he admit this on national television?” he continued.
Cohen’s lawyer also addressed a line on what Daniels has called the “hush agreement” that listed the initials “DD,” which stood for “David Dennison,” believed to be a pseudonym for Trump. The line was left blank.
“That’s evidence in of itself that he didn’t go to Donald Trump,” Schwartz said of Cohen. “Because the line was blank. He left the line blank.”
Mariotti disagreed with that assessment: “Under the terms of the agreement itself, only ‘DD’ can enforce it,” he said in another tweet. “If Cohen’s position is that Trump is not DD, then unless someone else comes forward as ‘DD,’ it is unenforceable and Stormy Daniels can release the materials.”
He went on: “It appears that Michael Cohen managed to hire a lawyer who is even more incompetent than himself. Cohen’s lawyer is a complete train wreck in this interview.”
Cliffords is suing Trump to toss the nondisclosure agreement she says is keeping her from further discussing her relationship with Trump. The White House has joined Cohen in denying the affair, though Trump has been silent on the topic.