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Trump’s lawyer says he paid $130,000 to porn star ahead of election

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer said Tuesday that he paid $130,000 of his own money to a porn star who allegedly had a sexual encounter with the President before his time in office.

“In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford,” Michael Cohen said in a statement. “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”

Keith Davidson, a lawyer for Clifford, said Cohen’s claim that he paid her out of his own pocket was “in complete harmony with what he informed me of at the time of the transaction.”

Just weeks before the 2016 election, Cohen reportedly created a private LLC to pay Clifford, otherwise known as Stormy Daniels, following an alleged July 2006 encounter with Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported in January.

The New York Times first reported that Cohen had said he made the payment himself.

Following initial reports last month that Cohen had made the payment, he said in a statement that Trump “vehemently denies” any encounter between the two.

In January, the organization Common Cause filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department, alleging that the reported payment to Clifford constituted a campaign finance violation. But on Tuesday, Cohen’s statement denied that accusation and said the monetary exchange was “lawful” and “not a campaign contribution.”

“The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone,” Cohen said.

Cohen also said he filed a reply with the FEC, but that filing will not be public until the agency has resolved the matter.

When asked why he made the payment, Cohen told CNN: “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.”

This story has been updated.