The Slatest

Trump Lawyer Reportedly Set Up Delaware Shell Company to Funnel Hush Money to Former Porn Star

Delaware, the Switzerland of America.
Delaware, the Switzerland of America.
NICHOLAS KAMM/Getty Images

Ever since former porn star Stormy Daniels’ alleged 2006 affair with Donald Trump became public last week, we, the public, have learned a great deal about the president’s sexual proclivities. It’s too much information to know about anyone, let alone the president, let alone when the president is Donald Trump. And to think, we almost made it without ever having to know about any of this at all! We were almost blissfully unaware because Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen went to great lengths not only to pay Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about the affair just weeks before the 2016 election, but to cover his own tracks while doing so by setting up a private company in Delaware to funnel the payment through. That comes from the Wall Street Journal, which broke the original story of Trump’s affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

[Cohen] established Essential Consultants LLC, on Oct. 17, 2016, just before the 2016 presidential election, corporate documents show. Mr. Cohen, who is based in New York, then used a bank account linked to the entity to send the payment to the client-trust account of a lawyer representing the woman, Stephanie Clifford, one of the people said.

Delaware doesn’t require companies to publicly disclose the names of their managers… [O]n its formation documents, which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Cohen listed himself as the “authorized person” for the company, rather than hiring a lawyer or an agent to serve in that role, which some company owners do to further obscure their identities. To further mask the identities of the people involved in the agreement, the parties used pseudonyms, with Ms. Clifford identified as “Peggy Peterson,” according to a person familiar with the matter.

Cohen has pushed back against the reporting about Trump’s alleged sexual relationship with a porn star, sometimes in hilarious fashion. Last week, for instance, the Trump lawyer emailed the Wall Street Journal a two-paragraph statement in response to their reporting on the affair. The email was addressed “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN” and signed by “Stormy Daniels.” The apparently impersonated email went on to deny any “sexual and/or romantic affair” with Trump, according to the Journal. “Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false,” the email statement from “Stormy Daniels” read.