A new report reveals that Donald Trump's lawyer created a limited liability corporation less than one month before the 2016 presidential election in order to pay $130,000 of hush money to a porn star believed to have had sex with the future president — and listed himself on the founding documents
Michael Cohen created Essential Consultants LLC in Delaware on Oct. 17, 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal. Cohen then used a bank account linked to the newly established firm to pay $130,000 to "Peggy Peterson," a false name established for Stormy Daniels (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford). The advantage of doing this in Delaware is that the state doesn't force LLCs to publicly disclose who is managing them and has a simpler process for creating those companies than many other states.
Although Cohen did not make his involvement in Essential Consultants LLC easily discernible, he listed his own name as the “authorized person” for the company rather than hiring a lawyer or agent to do so. That’s what allowed the Journal to track his involvement.
Cohen is believed to worked out the details of a nondisclosure agreement with Clifford's lawyer Keith Davidson in October 2016 out of concern that Clifford was about to come forward on ABC's "Good Morning America" with a rumored sexual encounter she had had with Trump, according to the Journal. On Friday, InTouch magazine published an interview with Clifford in which she described the encounter.
Cohen said that Trump — and Clifford — denied the encounter took place. "You’re [sic] obsessive drive to prove a false narrative, one that has been rebuked by all parties, must come to an end," he told the Journal.
By Matthew Rozsa
Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.