Former President Donald Trump could be heard discussing paying off former Playboy model Karen McDougal during a September 2016 conversation with his former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen.
Prosecutors in the Manhattan court case against the former president released the recording Friday.
Payments to McDougal and former porn star Stormy Daniels are at the center of the case criminal against Trump in New York.
Cohen could be heard in the recording talking to Donald Trump about arranging the payoff together with former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Wesselberg.
“Listen, I will pay cash … or check,” Trump said.
Cohen’s attorney and former Bill Clinton associate Lanny Davis told CNN that Trump wanted to pay cash and that Cohen had said, “No.No. No.”
“The only people who pay cash are mobsters or drug dealers,” Davis said in response to questions posed about the recording.
Donald Trump has publicly denied the affairs and has claimed the charges were nothing but political interference in the 2024 campaign.
McDougal reaffirmed her claim that the two had an affair in an interview with The Daily Mail recently.
“His people have denied it, but he’s never denied it,” McDougal said of Trump and their alleged 2006 affair. “[He said], “I’ve done nothing wrong.’ He knows I’m telling the truth.”
Legal Reasoning in Case Against Donald Trump Thin
If the payment was concealed through the creation of an LLC company, some say it could be viewed as a campaign-finance violation; however, the Justice Department already looked at the case and decided that no campaign finance laws were broken.
Former North Carolina Democratic Sen. John Edwards set a legal precedent for Trump. A federal court acquitted him of six counts of campaign-finance violations in 2012 stemming from his solicitation of $1 million from wealthy donors to keep a woman who he had an illicit affair and had fathered a child with.
Some have contended that state courts lack jurisdiction over cases involving federal law. The legal lawsuit against Trump is rooted in the idea that Trump concealed a federal campaign finance violation.
“The bottom line is that it’s murky,” Richard Hasen, an expert in election law and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles law school, told The Associated Press in April. “And the district attorney did not offer a detailed legal analysis as to how they can do this, how they can get around these potential hurdles. And it could potentially tie up the case for a long time.”
Trump Russiagate veteran former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe likewise questioned the legal rationale for the case.
“You saw that today. That indictment landed like a thud, right? Commentators across the spectrum are saying, boy, there’s really not much in here, raises all kinds of questions about the legal theory behind this case,” McCabe said last month. “He’s gonna — they’re gonna have a tough time facing motions to dismiss, um, an unimpressive document.”
Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, who brought the criminal charges against Trump, previously dismissed the idea of prosecuting the former president because the statute of limitations had passed.
Donald Trump Faces Federal Charges?
The New York case isn’t the worst for the former president.
Indications suggest that Trump could face imminent criminal charges in the probe of his having kept a cache of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Former Attorney General Bill Barr told CBS News that this is the case that Trump faces the most legal jeopardy from.
“If there was a case out there that I would be concerned about if I was … the former president is the Mar-a-Lago document case,” Barr said.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Trump employees moved boxes of papers the day before the FBI visited Mar-a-Lago in June of last year.
“Taken together,” The Post reported, “the new details of the classified-documents investigation suggest a greater breadth and specificity to the instances of possible obstruction found by the FBI and Justice Department than has been previously reported.
“It also broadens the timeline of possible obstruction episodes that investigators are examining — a period stretching from events at Mar-a-Lago before the subpoena to the period after the FBI raid there on Aug. 8.”
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John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.