Stormy Daniels praises Cohen’s ‘courage’

Stormy Daniels speaks at a ceremony in West Hollywood, California. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: Porn star Stormy Daniels praised Donald Trump’s disgraced former attorney Michael Cohen on Wednesday for telling the “truth” to Congress about hush money payments he made on behalf of the president.

Cohen testified before a US House committee that he paid US$130,000 to Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election to silence her about a sexual liaison she had with Trump.

“Michael, I’m proud of you for finally beginning to tell the truth about what you did, and trying to repair some of the harm you have caused,” Daniels said in a statement.

The adult film actress, real name Stephanie Clifford, thanked Cohen for having the courage “at long last” to tell the truth and addressed his claim that he felt threatened by Trump.

“You spoke about how the president and his attorney put you and your family in danger by calling you a liar and a rat and disparaging you in public,” Daniels said.

“I understand your fear, Michael. I have a family too.”

Daniels claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006, shortly after Trump’s wife Melania had given birth to their son, Barron.

Cohen pled guilty in August to paying off Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election, and is about to start a three-year jail term for that campaign violation and a variety of other financial crimes.

“Do you believe now that when you and the president called me a liar, when you were his attorney and you insulted me, threatened to bankrupt me and worse, that you put me and my family in danger?” she asked.

“I remember the fear you feel. I still feel it.”

Daniels voiced hope that “someday soon your family and mine can both leave this nightmare behind.”

During his testimony on Wednesday, Cohen said he had been subjected to threats from the president and his followers and was fearful for his safety and that of his family.

“It’s not just him,” he said. “It’s those people that follow him and his rhetoric.”

Cohen, referring to a tweet Trump posted about the former fixer’s father-in-law, said “he’s attacking him because he knows I care about my family. To hurt me, he’s trying to hurt them.”

Cohen testified that he had been reduced to traveling separately from his wife and children to family meals at restaurants.

“I make them go before me because I have fear and it’s the same fear that I had before when he initially decided to drop that tweet (about his father-in-law) in my cell phone,” he said.

During his testimony, Cohen, who is to report to prison on May 6, called Trump a “racist,” a “conman” and a “cheat.”