Ex-porn star 'paid to keep quiet about Trump affair'

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump's personal attorney arranged a US$130,000 (S$172,000) payment to a former porn star before the 2016 election to keep her from going public about an alleged sexual encounter with Mr Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported last Friday.

A White House official categorically denied the report in which the woman, Ms Stephanie Clifford, said she met Mr Trump at a celebrity golf event in 2006 - a year after he married his current wife, Melania.

"These are old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election," said a White House official.

Ms Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, said the encounter happened some time after that, the Journal reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Mr Trump's long-time attorney, Mr Michael Cohen, brokered the payment to the woman in October 2016 - one month before the election - under a deal that included a non-disclosure agreement, the sources told the newspaper.

Mr Cohen also issued a statement that he said was from Ms Clifford.

"Rumours that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false," read the statement, signed by Stormy Daniels. "If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn't be reading about it in the news, you would be reading about it in my book."

During the presidential campaign, a videotape emerged of Mr Trump boasting he could grope women with impunity. Several women have accused the 71-year-old of sexual misconduct. But Mr Trump has denied the claims.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 14, 2018, with the headline 'Ex-porn star 'paid to keep quiet about Trump affair''. Print Edition | Subscribe