05/18/2024

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Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels

Michael Cohen wins retraction from right-wing cable news network over false and ‘just plain stupid’ story alleging an affair with Stormy Daniels and a plot to extort Trump

Left: Michael Cohen (Yana Paskova/Getty Images); Center: Donald Trump (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell); Right: Stormy Daniels (Tara Ziemba_Getty Images)

Right-wing cable network One America News (OAN) has issued a retraction over a story alleging an affair between Michael Cohen, former President Donald Trump’s onetime personal attorney and fixer, and Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress whose alleged affair with Trump is presently the source of his legal troubles in New York City.

Perhaps key to the retraction, issued under threat of legal action from Cohen and his attorneys, was that the alleged source of the underlying claim also disputed he ever said anything of the sort.

On March 27, OAN ran the article: “Whistleblower: Avenatti Alleged Cohen­ Daniels Affair Since 2006, Pre-2016 Trump Extortion Plan.”

Through a statement issued by a paralegal, Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ former attorney and onetime in-demand cable news talking head — who is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence for fraud, extortion and other financial crimes — said the allegations were “fabricated, bogus and complete bull––––,” according to a report by the Times of San Diego reporter Ken Stone.

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    In the story, OAN cited an X (formerly Twitter) post by self-described investor and board member Tony Seruga that referenced an “affair” between Cohen and Avenatti’s “client (that he would steal from)” as well as “their scheme to bilk the Trump Organization out of money.”

    Segura’s X post is still online.

    The article has since been pulled from the cable network’s website.

    “The article, quoting a source, falsely claimed that Mr. Cohen and Ms. Daniels ‘were having an affair since 2006’ and that, according to a source, ‘the whole hush money scheme was cooked up by [Mr. Cohen] to extort the Trump Organization before the 2016 election,’” the retraction reads. “These statements were false. OAN regrets their publication.”

    The network notes that their retraction comes as part of a “settlement reached with Michael Cohen” and goes on to apologize to Cohen “for any harm the publication may have caused him.”

    “Mr. Cohen alerted OAN to the false statements. OAN promptly investigated and learned that Mr. Avenatti denied making the allegations,” the retraction continues. “To be clear, no evidence suggests that Mr. Cohen and Ms. Daniels were having an affair and no evidence suggests that Mr. Cohen ‘cooked up’ the scheme to extort the Trump Organization before the 2016 election.”

    Cohen dispels the false claims in the retraction at length.

    “I did not have an affair with Stormy Daniels and furthermore I did not ‘cook up’ the allegations to extort the Trump Organization before the 2016 election,” the retraction goes on, quoting the former president’s onetime right-hand man directly. “The notion that right before the election I would extort the man I fervently supported and believed was about to become president, all to make $130,000 that I did not even keep for myself, is beyond absurd. It’s just plain stupid.”

    The settlement did involve money, the Times of San Diego reports. The news network is based in the southern California city famous for its zoo as well as for its role in surf and burrito culture.

    Cohen was represented by Texas-based law firm partner Justin Nelson, for the OAN matter, and New York-based attorney E. Danya Perry, who also serves as Cohen’s attorney on separate matters.

    “Today’s retraction by OAN represents a victory for accountability,” Nelson said in a statement Cohen posted on X. “This retraction is not about money. It is about protecting the truth.”

    Cohen himself described the strongly-worded retraction as “first apology in a long line of lies about me by media outlets.”

    The first apology in a long line of lies about me by media outlets. @OANN pic.twitter.com/566gt5DUV3

    — Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) April 29, 2024

    “He has faced severe consequences for telling the truth,” Perry added in the statement. “With this action, he has made clear that those who slander him will face their own consequences.”

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    The post Michael Cohen wins retraction from right-wing cable news network over false and ‘just plain stupid’ story alleging an affair with Stormy Daniels and a plot to extort Trump first appeared on Law & Crime.