TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that no campaign funding was involved in the discussion between Trump and Cohen, who has distanced himself from Trump in recent months as the FBI investigates Cohen’s business dealings. If campaign funds were used, that could run afoul of federal election law, legal experts said.
Before the election, the Trump campaign denied any knowledge of payment to McDougal, but the taped conversation could undermine those denials. The existence of the audio recording was first reported by the New York Times, which said Trump and Cohen discussed a potential payment to the former model, Karen McDougal.
Giuliani confirmed the conversation to Reuters and that it took place in September 2016 but said it involved reimbursing the parent company of the National Enquirer tabloid for McDougal’s story rights. The payment was never made, he said.
Giuliani denied Trump had an affair with McDougal. He said the tape would show that Trump makes clear that if there is going to be a payment, it should be done by check, which would be easily traced.
Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said in a Twitter post that, when the recording was heard, it would not hurt Cohen. “Any attempt at spin can not change what is on the tape.” Reuters has not heard the audiotape.
A representative for McDougal did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters. The White House also declined comment.
McDougal sold her story for $150,000 in August 2016 but it was never published by the National Enquirer, a practice known as “catch and kill” to prevent a potentially damaging story from becoming public. David Pecker, the chairman of parent company American Media Inc (AMI) is Trump’s friend. McDougal has said she began a nearly year-long affair with Trump in 2006 shortly after his wife, Melania, gave birth.