Giuliani makes new defense of Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal payments

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani floated a new line of defense Wednesday regarding payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in the final stretches of the 2016 presidential campaign.

In an unsolicited text to The Hill on Wednesday afternoon, Giuliani argued that those payments would not violate campaign finance laws “even if a purpose was to aid the campaign.” 

Such payments would be defensible, he argued, so long as “there is a strong personal component to a payment — like protecting your wife, children and family from scandal.”

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The payments, facilitated by Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal attorney, were intended to keep the women from going public with allegations they had affairs with Trump a decade previously. Trump denies the affairs.

Giuliani’s interpretation of the law is vigorously contested by many lawyers and other experts, who insist that any payment intended — even in part — to help a political campaign must be reported as a contribution.

On Twitter, Lubbe B. Luppen,  a New York lawyer better known by his @NYCSouthpaw handle, has drawn attention to instructions given to the jury in the broadly similar case of former presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) in 2012.

In that instance, where payments were also made to conceal an extramarital affair, the jury was told “the government does not have to prove that the sole or only purpose of the money was to influence the election. … If you find beyond a reasonable doubt that one of [the] purposes was to influence an election, then that would be sufficient” to prove a breach of the law.

The payments to Daniels and McDougal — an adult-film actress and model, respectively — are under renewed scrutiny as a result of Cohen’s cooperation with prosecutors. 

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison last week, including on charges of campaign finance violations related to the two women. 

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s “Good Morning America” last Friday, Cohen said that Trump directed him to make the payments, adding that “of course” the future president knew the payments were wrong.