Trump Attorney Paid Porn Star Through Private LLC Created Weeks Before Election, Wall Street Journal Reports

Just weeks before the 2016 presidential election, President Donald Trump’s lawyer formed a private LLC to pay a former porn star in exchange for not speaking publicly about an alleged sexual encounter with the then-candidate, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the alleged encounter with Trump took place in July 2006 after a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe.

The company, Essential Consultants LLC, was reportedly created in Delaware — which offers a higher standard of privacy to business owners — by attorney Michael Cohen, according to the Journal’s report, which cited corporate records and people familiar with the matter.

The Wall Street Journal first reported last week that Cohen had paid the former porn star, Stormy Daniels, $130,000 in exchange for her silence about the alleged encounter. Following that report, Cohen said in a statement that Trump “vehemently denies” any encounter between the two.

In addition to Essential Consultants LLC, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that aliases were used to hide the names of people involved, including “Peggy Peterson” for the adult film star Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels.

CNN has not independently confirmed The Wall Street Journal’s reporting, and Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“These rumors have circulated time and again since 2011,” Cohen said in a previous statement to CNN regarding last week’s report. “President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels.”

In a statement provided by Cohen from Daniels, she also calls the article “absolutely false.”

“My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more,” she wrote in a statement, dated January 10. “When I met Donald Trump, he was gracious, professional and a complete gentleman to me and EVERYONE in my presence. Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false. If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn’t be reading about in the news, you would be reading about it in my book. But the fact of the matter is, these stories are not true.”

CNN asked Cohen, who had provided Daniels’ statement, for her contact information, but he did not respond.