President Donald Trump has been ordered to pay the legal fees for adult film star Stormy Daniels in a court case involving a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) that she signed at one point covering an affair she apparently had with the eventual president. Daniels sued in an attempt to be released from the NDA, but the president’s team decided to just abandon the case and not even try to enforce the NDA at all in the first place. Although that left Daniels’s original lawsuit moot and it was subsequently dismissed, she still sought to be reimbursed for the legal fees that she had accumulated. California Superior Court Judge Robert Broadbelt ruled in her favor, determining her to be the “prevailing party” in the case.
Trump has been ordered to pay a total of $44,100. Originally, Daniels had been paid $130,000 in hush money alongside the NDA in question. Although Trump did not personally sign the NDA — that task was left to his then-“fixer,” Michael Cohen — Judge Broadbelt ruled that Trump was still a party to the original agreement anyway on account of facts like his reimbursement of Cohen for the hush money that he paid to Daniels. Karen McDougal, meanwhile, who also had an apparent affair with the president, was also paid off around the same time as Daniels. She was paid $150,000 by A.M.I., the then-owner of the National Enquirer, which purchased the rights to the story of her relationship with Trump, in coordination with the eventual president’s team, which was working to keep the stories quiet.
Cohen has long since “flipped” on the president, and he has a book coming out soon chronicling his time working for Trump. In the book, he covers ground like the Russia scandal, writing:
‘Trump had colluded with the Russians, but not in the sophisticated ways imagined by his detractors. I also knew that the Mueller investigation was not a witch-hunt. Trump had cheated in the election, with Russian connivance, as you will discover in these pages, because doing anything — and I mean anything — to ‘win’ has always been his business model and way of life.’
There’s an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance that covers potential criminal conduct at the Trump Organization including the company’s role in the hush money scandal. Specifically, the company maintained falsified, fraudulent records meant to hide the true nature of those reimbursements for Cohen.