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Cohen recorded conversation with Trump about payments to ex-Playboy model

By
Danielle Haynes
President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen recorded a conversation the two had about paying for the exclusive rights to a story from a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen recorded a conversation the two had about paying for the exclusive rights to a story from a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

July 20 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, secretly recorded audio of a conversation between the two men about making payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with the president, Rudy Giuliani said Friday.

In the 2-minute recording, Cohen and Trump can be heard discussing payments to Karen McDougal, who said she had an affair with Trump in 2006 after his wife, Melania Trump, gave birth to their son. McDougal exclusively sold her story to the National Enquirer, which then chose not to run the story before the 2016 election.

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Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, told The New York Times, which first reported the story, and CNN there's nothing in the recording that indicates Trump knew he was being recorded or that he previously knew about the payment the Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc., made to McDougal.

"Neither one seems to be concerned anyone would hear it. It went off on irrelevant subjects that have nothing to do with this. It's a very professional conversation between a client and a lawyer and the client saying, 'Do it right,'" Giuliani said.

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In the recording, Giuliani said Trump and Cohen were discussing buying the rights to the story from the Enquirer. Trump told Cohen he should write a check instead of sending cash so there was documentation of the payment, but ultimately they never reimbursed AMI for McDougal's story.

Giuliani believes the tape is favorable toward the president.

"In the big scheme of things, it's powerful exculpatory evidence," he said.

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But a source familiar with the tape told CNN that Trump was in disbelief when he found out about its existence.

"I can't believe Michael would do this to me," the source said.

The tape, along with other audio records, were among hundreds of documents and other evidence seized during an April FBI raid on Cohen's hotel, residence and office.

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The FBI raid was part of an investigation into possible election law violations over a payment Cohen made to adult film star actress Stormy Daniels, who also said she had an affair with Trump after his marriage to Melania Trump. He paid her $130,000 as part of a non-disclosure agreement days before the 2016 election.

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