New York Times: Ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen secretly recorded talks of payments to former Playboy model in 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, secretly made a recording of his conversation between himself and the future President discussing payments to former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, who has alleged an affair with Trump, The New York Times reported Friday.
The recording — which was made shortly before the presidential election — was seized during an FBI raid on Cohen’s office in April, the Times reported, citing lawyers and others familiar with the recording.
Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani confirmed to the Times that Trump had discussed the payments with Cohen on the recording, which runs less than two minutes, but said that the payment was ultimately never made.
“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Giuliani told the Times Friday, adding, “In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence.”
A lawyer for Cohen declined to comment to the Times.
Trump has denied McDougal’s allegations of an affair.
In August 2016, McDougal signed an agreement with American Media Inc., which owns The National Enquirer, Us Weekly, Men’s Journal and several other publications. She believed at the time the contract was a work agreement that would allow her to be photographed for and write pieces that would run in the companies’ publications.
Her attorney for that negotiation was Keith Davidson. She told CNN she later found out Davidson was in contact with Cohen.
McDougal later realized she could face a financial penalty for speaking to the media about her story. In April, she reached a settlement with AMI that allows her to discuss the alleged affair.
Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in March, McDougal alleged that she and Trump were together “many dozens of times” and answered in the affirmative when asked if they were intimate.
McDougal described the alleged affair from 2006 to 2007 as a consensual, loving relationship, and said she did not know Trump might have seen other women at the time besides his wife — and that throughout their relationship, he did not use protection.
“I didn’t know he was intimate with other ladies,” she said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” at the time. “I thought I was the only one.”