Dear Michael D. Cohen, Esq.:
So you’re the one who paid Stormy Daniels to shut up?
According to The New York Times, you claim to have forked over $130,000 during the 2016 campaign to Stephanie Clifford, a pornographic film “actress” who performs under that nom de coitus, in exchange for her promise not to talk about having sex with Donald Trump shortly after his wife gave birth to his youngest son. You say – and Clifford’s attorney backs you up – that you did this out of your own pocket.
“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford,” your statement says, “and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly. The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”
That’s the part that has made headlines. But I’m drawn to something fewer people seem to have noticed. Namely, your rationale for paying such a hefty sum given that your client insists he didn’t do anything wrong. Apparently, in your role as Trump’s personal lawyer, you are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.
“Just because something isn’t true,” you told CNN, “doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.”
So just to make sure I’m clear on this: It doesn’t matter whether or not the claim is true? If it could damage your client, you stand ready to write a six-figure check?
Dude, me and Donald had so much sex.
We did crazy sex things everywhere. In the East Room, in the situation room, on the desk in the Oval Office. It was me, him and Nancy Pelosi.
We also did meth with some illegals in the Rose Garden. Snorted cocaine off April Ryan’s chair in the White House Press Room.
And then we robbed a liquor store.
Now, Stormy Daniels demanded $130,000 to keep mum about sexing your boss. But me, I’m a reasonable guy. I’m willing to stay quiet about all of the sex, drugs and robbery things we did for a measly $100,000. You’re never going to get a better deal.
And right now, I’m thinking you could use a break. After all, many observers are finding your story hard to swallow.
They think it exceedingly unlikely someone would essentially give away $130,000 out of the goodness of his heart. They also find it hard to believe your client knew nothing about the payout. Besides, he’s been accused – and even confessed to – worse things than doing the horizontal bop with a porn star. What’s so different about this particular case? What is it about Stormy Daniels that would make you dig into your personal coffers for such a large sum to stop her from telling a supposed lie?
But I wouldn’t worry about the people saying those things. They’re just being logical.
I also wouldn’t worry about Daniels’ attorney announcing that, with this statement from you, the porn star feels liberated from her nondisclosure agreement and will soon begin telling her tale. She probably won’t do that.
I mean, why would she admit she slept with Donald Trump? Think of what that would do to her reputation.
Anyway, you have my offer. So I trust I can expect a $100,000 certified check to be overnighted to me care of this newspaper? I’ll be waiting.
Oh, and I forgot to mention how Donald ran over a guy in the presidential limousine while he was high on meth. I promise, I won’t talk about where we buried the body.
No charge. I’ll throw that one in for free, ‘cause I’m that kind of guy.
Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.