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WSJ: Michael Cohen used same company for payment deals for two women

Updated 6:30 PM ET, Mon April 16, 2018

(CNN) - President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen used the same Delaware limited liability company to facilitate payments to two women, according to a report Sunday in The Wall Street Journal.

Essential Consultants LLC was used for the partial payment of a $250,000 fee paid to Cohen for negotiating a non-disclosure agreement with a former Playboy model who claimed she was impregnated by Elliott Broidy, a venture capitalist and former deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

In a statement, Broidy acknowledged the relationship but did not address whether he impregnated the woman.

"First, I would like to sincerely apologize to my wife and family for the hurt that I have caused. I acknowledge I had a consensual relationship with a Playboy Playmate," Broidy said in a statement. "At the end of our relationship, this woman shared with me that she was pregnant. She alone decided that she did not want to continue with the pregnancy and I offered to help her financially during this difficult period. We have not spoken since that time.

Essential Consultants was also used to pay $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to prevent her from speaking publicly about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

It was partly these payments that led authorities to raid Cohen's home, office and hotel on April 9, according to the Journal.

In 2013, Cohen also tamped down a developing US Weekly magazine story about an alleged affair between Donald Trump Jr., who was a judge on his father's NBC show "Celebrity Apprentice," and Aubrey O'Day, a contestant on the show, people familiar with the matter told the Journal. When magazine staff called the Trump Organization for comment after establishing a solid source, Cohen called them back in a fury and threatened legal action, a person involved in the matter told the Journal.

Cohen and his attorney did not return a request for comment to the Journal.

A Trump Jr. spokesperson, Wenner Media, and Audrey O'Day did not return requests for comment to CNN on the circumstances surrounding the US Weekly story. Wenner Media owned US Weekly until 2017, when it was sold to National Enquirer publisher American Media, Inc.

The Justice Department said Friday that Cohen has been "under criminal investigation" for months in New York because of his business dealings.

Cohen's attorneys have filed a temporary restraining order in the matter, asking the court to stop federal prosecutors from using some of the records they seized. Cohen did not appear in court Friday morning and has not been charged with a crime.

At the hearing Friday, the judge ordered the parties to return to court Monday for another hearing, where Cohen will have to be present. In an interview Sunday with CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union," Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti said that Daniels will be attending Cohen's court hearing.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz, Kara Scannell and Julia Jones contributed to this story.


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