Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, steered a client to Stormy Daniels’ then-attorney last fall, a year after the two men negotiated a secret $130,000 deal silencing the porn star about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump, Daniels’ attorney confirmed to CNN.
Keith M. Davidson said in a statement provided to CNN that Cohen gave his name to entertainment executive and Trump associate Chuck LaBella, who was being written about on Twitter by actor Tom Arnold.
The referral is potentially significant amid allegations of coziness between Davidson and Cohen contained in a lawsuit filed by another Davidson client, Karen McDougal, who also says she had an affair with Trump. The lawsuit claims that Davidson was part of a “broad effort to silence and intimidate her and others.” Davidson disputes that claim.
Arnold accused LaBella, who worked as a producer on NBC’s “The Apprentice” and on Trump’s Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, of possessing damning information about the President. Arnold’s cryptic tweets did not provide details or evidence to back up his claims.
“Chuck LaBella has all the dirt,” Arnold tweeted in October of last year.
“Chuck LaBella was there and knows all,” a second tweet alleged.
A third tweet made a veiled reference to a “Putin call” and other matters supposedly linking Trump to Russia.
In response to the tweets, Davidson wrote an email to Arnold’s attorney, Marty Singer, asking that the actor stop falsely implicating LaBella as a witness to any alleged misdeeds by Trump, according to a source who has read the email.
Davidson told CNN he was not paid for sending the correspondence and did no further work on the matter. He said he did not know whether Cohen provided LaBella with the names of other attorneys as well.
In response to an inquiry from CNN, LaBella wrote:
“Keith Davidson has never been hired as my counsel. I have never met him. I have never paid him. I have never signed any agreement with him.
“A friend called Keith on my behalf, because of his close relationship with Tom Arnold’s lawyer (Marty Singer). To stop Tom Arnold from spreading these slanderous accusations and outright lies.”
Asked whether Cohen was the friend who made the referral, LaBella replied:
“After working for over 30 years in Hollywood, Keith has been know(n) as the fixer. Many people over the years have recommended Keith to me.
He has been in my rolodex, that’s how I know of him.”
The New York Times and The Smoking Gun have previously reported that Cohen referred LaBella to Davidson, but did not indicate whether any of the parties involved confirmed the link.
Davidson’s confirmation of the referral to CNN follows an exclusive interview earlier this week in which he said he’d spoken with President’s lawyer on several occasions regarding two women who claim to have had sex with the married billionaire in 2006. Trump has denied the affairs.
Davidson said he called Cohen in the late summer of 2016 to inform him that he’d settled a case involving Playboy model McDougal. McDougal sold the rights to her story to American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, for $150,000 and other perks. Davidson said he informed Cohen of the deal as “a professional courtesy.”
The Enquirer never published the story, effectively silencing McDougal’s claims in the run-up to the election. She has since filed a lawsuit accusing Davidson of “working closely with representatives for Mr. Trump while pretending to advocate on her behalf.”
Davidson said Cohen had also reached out to him after Daniels appeared on “60 Minutes” in late March and described her alleged sexual encounter with Trump. In the interview, Daniels said her lawyer had pressured her to sign a statement falsely stating that the encounter never happened.
“I don’t believe that the facts … in the interview were a fair and accurate representation of my representation of her at the time,” Davidson told CNN.
Davidson said Cohen advised him that he thought Daniels had violated her confidentiality agreement and encouraged Davidson to “spill his guts” about the true circumstances surrounding the deal.
Davidson said he consulted an ethics lawyer and still felt bound by attorney-client privilege, even though he was no longer working with Daniels. He denied working in concert with Cohen on either matter, but declined to discuss details of either case, citing attorney-client privilege.
He told CNN that he and Cohen first intersected in 2011 when Davidson called to inform him that he was representing Daniels in a bid to have a story about her having sex with Trump removed from a gossip website called TheDirty.com. He said the matter was quickly resolved and the story was removed.
Cohen has declined comment on Davidson’s characterization of their alleged conversations.
Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ current attorney, said: “As more evidence comes to light relating to his close personal relationship with Michael Cohen and his efforts to protect Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump at the expense of his clients, we grow increasingly disturbed. … Mr. Davidson has no business doing Mr. Cohen’s bidding for him.”