Top lawyer leaving Novartis over Cohen payments

Larry Hoffman
May 17, 2018

President Donald Trump's financial ethics disclosures for 2018 have revealed the payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels over her claims of an affair.

The payments were made to Cohen's firm, Essential Consultants, the same company used to pay adult film actress Stormy Daniels as part of a non-disclosure agreement after she alleged that she had an affair with Trump before the election.

Cohen, President Trump's former personal attorney, asked a NY federal judge to shut Avenatti out of his court case because of the publication.

Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had said previously that Cohen was paid $460,000 or $470,000 from Trump, which also included money for "incidental expenses" that he had incurred on Trump's behalf. Ethics experts says that if that payment was knowingly and willfully left out, Trump could be in violation of federal ethics laws.

A reason for the payment to Cohen was not specified in the financial disclosure that the Office of Government Ethics released, The New York Times reported. An unidentified Kuwaiti official told the Daily Mail that in the last week, al-Rumaihi told him that in a December 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Flynn and Cohen, "Cohen told him to send millions to various members of the Trump family". The disclosure was made as a footnote in a section on Mr. Trump's liabilities. But the president's latest disclosure seems to support Giuliani's original statement.

The office indicated in the documents that it believed the president should have publicly listed the payment to Cohen in the form he filed last year-not this one. The president submitted his form to OGE for review Tuesday, according to the White House. The president's Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, also took in $25 million (down from $37 million the prior year), while his Turnberry club in Scotland grossed $20 million. It indicates that his Washington hotel, a popular spot for lobbyists and Republican aides and among one of his most successful properties, had revenues of over $40 million in 2017. Meanwhile, Trump's D.C. hotel - which, fortuitously, opened its doors in September 2016 - has become one of the mogul's best-performing properties, as the patronage of foreign diplomats helped the venue produce $40.4 million in revenue a year ago.

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