President Trump personally directed an effort in February to stop Stormy Daniels from publicly describing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.
President Trump personally directed an effort in February to stop Stormy Daniels from publicly describing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, people familiar with the events say.
In a phone call, Mr. Trump instructed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to seek a restraining order against the former adult-film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, through a confidential arbitration proceeding, one of the people said. Messrs. Trump and Cohen had learned shortly before that Ms. Clifford was considering giving a media interview about her alleged relationship with Mr. Trump, despite having signed an October 2016 nondisclosure agreement.
Direct involvement of the president and his son in the effort to silence Ms. Clifford hasn’t previously been reported. The accounts of that effort recently provided to The Wall Street Journal suggest that the president’s ties to his company continued into this year and contradict public statements made at the time by the Trump Organization, the White House and Mr. Cohen.
The White House referred a request for comment to the president’s outside counsel. Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, declined to comment. A person close to the situation said Eric Trump had acted as the president’s son and not in his role as a company executive. The Trump Organization declined to comment. Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Mr. Cohen, declined to comment.
In March, the Trump Organization denied any role in the arbitration, saying its lawyer assisted in her “individual capacity.” At the same time, the White House issued blanket denials when asked about a hush payment to Ms. Clifford and directed questions to Mr. Cohen, who had called the deal a private transaction between himself and the former adult-film star. Mr. Trump has denied any sexual encounter with Ms. Clifford.