Stormy Daniels became a household name when she sued President Donald Trump and his then-attorney Michael Cohen to get out of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) she made centering on an alleged affair between her and Trump. Now, the lawyer who negotiated that deal, Keith Davidson, is revealing his thoughts on what led to that $130,000 payment.
“The Access Hollywood tape was the motivating factor in this case actually resolving,” Davidson told ABC’s Good Morning America, referring to the now-infamous behind-the-scenes footage of Trump making comments to Billy Bush about forcing himself on women. “It defeats the argument that this was done for purely personal reason and that this was in fact done for political reasons, because after the Access Hollywood tape, that this could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Cohen himself said when he pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations related to the payments made to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, that they were indeed done to benefit Trump’s presidential campaign.
Davidson was also the lawyer who represented McDougal, who similarly received payment in exchange for her silence regarding an alleged affair with Trump. That payment was in the form of a deal with National Enquirer publisher A.M.I. McDougal later sued to get out of her deal as well, claiming that Davidson and Cohen were working together to make sure she kept quiet.
Davidson denied working with Cohen on the hush agreements, but the way he talked about Cohen in the ABC interview, the two certainly seemed to be friends. Davidson described how Cohen confided in him when Trump took office—and didn’t bring Cohen with him.
“He confided in me that he was just beside himself, and in his words, he said, ‘Can you [censored] believe it? I just can’t [censored] believe it. Can you [censored] believe that after everything I’ve done, he’s not taking me to Washington?'” Davidson said that Cohen felt embarrassed and rejected.
During a hearing before the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) accused Cohen of being sour that he didn’t get an administration job. Cohen strongly denied this, leading to accusations of perjury from Jordan and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) as well as the president’s son Eric Trump, who claimed that it was well-known among the Trump campaign that Cohen wanted a White House job.
As for Daniels, she went on to retain a new attorney, Michael Avenatti, who represented her as she sued to get out of the NDA. Her lawsuit, brought against Cohen and Trump, sought a declaration that the agreement was unenforceable. That case came to an end last week, after both Cohen and Trump agreed to never bring any legal action against Daniels under the NDA. After those promises were made, the judge said there was no reason to keep the case going.
[Image via ABC screengrab]