For weeks, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has claimed that neither the Trump Organization nor campaign was involved in a scheme to silence adult film actress Stormy Daniels. On Wednesday night, however, CNN’s Anderson Cooper revealed new evidence that calls into question his claim.
New documents obtained by “Anderson Cooper 360” suggest a deeper link than previously known between the Trump campaign and the company that Cohen established in 2016 to pay off Daniels in exchange for silence about her alleged affair with Trump.
The documents also offer the first evidence of an individual employed by the Trump Organization — other than Cohen — being involved in an ongoing legal battle regarding Daniels’ alleged affair with Trump.
A “demand for arbitration” document dated February 22, 2018, names Jill Martin, a top lawyer at the Trump Organization based in California, as the attorney representing “EC, LLC.” “EC, LLC” is Essential Consultants, according to Daniels’ lawsuit, a company that Cohen established in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Daniels.
Martin’s title at the Trump Organization is vice president and assistant general counsel, according to her LinkedIn page. The address listed for Martin on both documents is One Trump National Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, which is the location of Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles.
In addition to showing a second attorney connected with the Trump Organization having direct involvement in legal matters related to Daniels, the new documents raise questions about Cohen’s previous insistence that “neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford,” though it is not known whether Martin had any involvement in the case prior to the arbitration filing.
The documents were part of Cohen’s request for a restraining order against Daniels, to keep her from speaking about her alleged affair with Trump. According to the news network, a private arbitration judge approved the request for an “ex-parte application for emergency relief,” which meant that neither Daniels nor her attorney had to be notified about the proceedings.
Last week, President Trump lashed out at his own press secretary for her handling of the Stormy Daniels scandal after Sarah Sanders told reporters that the arbitration was won “in the President’s favor,” an admission that the nondisclosure agreement exists, and that it directly involves the President.
However, as noted by CNN, the President did not “win” arbitration, because the restraining order is an interim order.
“This is significant,” Larry Noble, general counsel of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, told CNN, adding that the arbitration document offers evidence of a possible connection between the Trump Organization and the payment to Daniels, which could violate campaign finance law.
“This is further evidence that the Trump Organization is involved. If they are going to argue that this payment was separate and apart from the Trump Organization, then why is the organization representing this company now?,” Noble said.