A surreptitiously recorded conversation between Donald Trump and his long-time personal lawyer Michael Cohen (pictured above) has emerged, revealing that the pair discussed purchasing the rights to a former Playboy model’s story of an alleged affair between her and Trump.
Time Magazine reports that the tape, which was made two months before the 2016 presidential election, purports to reveal a conversation about buying model Karen McDougal’s story of an alleged affair which she claims occurred in 2006, just a few months after the birth of the US president’s youngest son Barron.
“Trump denies the affair ever happened and his campaign had said he knew nothing about the payment,” Time says.
The rights to McDougal’s story were reportedly purchased by the US tabloid National Enquirer for $150,000 (£114,000), which then declined to publish the story in what is known in media circles as a “catch and kill”, in order to stop the story being published at all.
The Guardian reports that the tape was released to CNN by Cohen’s lawyer Larry Davis “who argued that its contents proved his client tried to handle the payment legally whereas Trump instead sought to pay in cash”.
Current Trump attorney, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, appeared on Fox News after the tape was aired on CNN to say: “There’s no indication of any crime being committed on this tape”.
However, Cohen’s lawyer has publicly accused Giuliani of “falsely disparaging Michael Cohen – because they fear him”, CNN says.
CNN also says the release of the tape is “the latest breakdown in the decade-long relationship between Trump and Cohen”, adding that Cohen “in recent weeks has made clear he is open to cooperating with US prosecutors”. – The Week