Trump’s Romp With Stormy Daniels Spawned a Bunch of Losers

·4 min read
Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Reuters
Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Reuters

Donald Trump has a tendency to rack up collateral damage—and his dalliance with Stormy Daniels was no different. Somehow his very quick romp with the porn star in 2006 sullied the reputations of a whole cast of characters who weren’t even in the room. Here are just a few of the biggest losers:

Michael Cohen

Trump’s once-loyal fixer played bagman in the Stormy Daniels affair, transferring $130,000 to her lawyer to buy her silence in 2016—and he paid the price. In 2018, he pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws, along with a host of other transgressions not related to Daniels, and was sentenced to three years in prison.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Michael Cohen arrives at a Manhattan courthouse on March 15.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Eduardo Munoz/Reuters</div>

Michael Cohen arrives at a Manhattan courthouse on March 15.

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

‘The irony is today is the day I’m getting my freedom back,” Cohen told the judge at his sentencing, stung by fact that Trump had not returned his loyalty and had, in fact, tried to throw his “fixer” under the proverbial bus. But now it’s Cohen who gets the last laugh; he testified before the Manhattan grand jury that returned the indictment against his old boss.

National Enquirer

Never a paragon of journalistic ethics, the supermarket tabloid saw its reputation sink further when its publisher, David Pecker, was forced to admit that he paid hush money to Daniels and another alleged Trump mistress, Karen McDougal, to silence them.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Karen McDougal poses in 1998.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Reuters</div>

Karen McDougal poses in 1998.


As part of the catch-and-kill scheme coordinated with the Trump campaign, American Media Inc. bought the exclusive rights to the women’s stories to bury them, not publish them. AMI acknowledged it broke campaign finance laws—by essentially making an unreported in-kind donation—and paid a $187,500 fine.

AT&T and Novartis

The disclosure that the hush-money to Daniels went through a secret company created by Cohen, Essential Consultants, created a PR nightmare for several corporations that, it was revealed, also funneled money to Cohen through it. AT&T and Novartis sent him $200,000 and $400,000, respectively, even though his only function at the time was to solve problems and act as a gate-keeper for Trump.

(Another party that funneled money—$500,000—to Essential Consultants was Columbus Nova, a company linked to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who was questioned by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators in connection with the probe of Russian election interference.)

Michael Avenatti

Avenatti’s representation of Daniels made him a cable-news fixture, a household name, and a guy who somehow thought he could be president. But it also made him something else: a convicted felon. The more famous Avenatti got, the more his past came back to bite him.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives at the U.S. District Court to face embezzlement and fraud charges in Santa Ana, California, U.S., April 1, 2019. </p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Reuters/Mike Blake</div>

Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives at the U.S. District Court to face embezzlement and fraud charges in Santa Ana, California, U.S., April 1, 2019.

Reuters/Mike Blake

By 2020, he was charged with extorting Nike and cheating clients, including Daniels—whose signature he forged to direct that her book money be sent to him. He spent Stormy’s cash, lied about it, was convicted and got sentenced to four years in prison on top of a 14-year sentence in connection with the fraud against his other clients.

Columbus Police Department

Daniels’ July 2018 appearance at the Sirens strip club in Ohio’s capital city took an unexpected turn when she was arrested and charged with fondling undercover officers. The three misdemeanor counts were dropped within 12 hours because, it turned out, she had not broken any laws, but the fallout continued.

Two vice officers, Steve Rosser and Whitney Lancaster, were placed on modified duty and later fired after police officials determined the operation did not follow usual procedures and that one of the cops allegedly lied about why they were at Sirens that night (supposedly to look for an underage dancer named Pearl and not to target the famous adult performer whose allegations had imperiled the president).

In addition, Daniels sued the city of Columbus over her wrongful arrest, alleging it was politically motivated, and the case was settled for $450,000. Try fitting that in a G-string.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify Viktor Vekselberg’s relationship to Columbus Nova.

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