Elliott Broidy has stepped down as a deputy fundraising chair for the Republican National Committee
By Zachary R. Mider, Bloomberg News
NEW YORK — Michael Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer to President Donald Trump who arranged a nondisclosure payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels, also helped a top Republican donor negotiate a payment to a former Playboy Playmate.
The fundraiser, Elliott Broidy, agreed in late 2017 to pay $1.6 million to the woman, who said she had been impregnated by him, according to a person familiar with the matter. Broidy, in a statement Friday, said that he retained Cohen in the matter after the lawyer approached him about it. The agreement was first reported to The Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.
Broidy has stepped down as a deputy fundraising chair for the Republican National Committee — a position that is also held by Cohen — according to two people familiar with the matter.
The deal prohibited the Los Angeles woman from disclosing her relationship with Broidy, the Journal said. The woman chose to terminate the pregnancy, Broidy said in his statement.
“I acknowledge I had a consensual relationship with a Playboy Playmate. 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,” he said.
“I would like to sincerely apologize to my wife and family for the hurt that I have caused,” Broidy said. “It is unfortunate that this personal matter between two consenting adults is the subject of national discussion just because of Michael Cohen’s involvement. Mr. Cohen reached out to me after being contacted by this woman’s attorney, Keith Davidson. Although I had not previously hired Mr. Cohen, I retained Mr. Cohen after he informed me about his prior relationship with Mr. Davidson.”
Davidson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Broidy agreement used the pseudonyms David Dennison and Peggy Peterson, the paper reported. Those were the same pseudonyms used in the agreement that Cohen arranged for Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. That deal, which Trump didn’t sign, is the subject of a continuing arbitration and court battle.
The woman alleged that Broidy had paid her for an exclusive sexual relationship, the Journal cited one unnamed source as saying.
Broidy has been the subject of media scrutiny since earlier this year, when hackers got access to his email server and revealed that he urged Trump to take positions that would benefit the United Arab Emirates, where a defense company he owns has government contracts. Other disclosures showed he sought to become a paid advocate for Russian companies subject to sanctions, and to end a U.S. criminal probe involving a Malaysian businessman.
Cohen’s office, home and hotel room were raided by federal agents in New York earlier this week after a referral by special counsel Robert Mueller. They reportedly hauled away documents to support an investigation into potential bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations. The FBI seized records relating to Karen McDougal, the former Playmate who said she had a 10-month affair with Trump, and Clifford, a person familiar with the matter has said. The FBI also searched a safety deposit box and two cell phones, the government said in a filing Friday.
A lawyer for Cohen asked a federal judge on Friday to order prosecutors to stop reviewing documents seized during the searches. This was necessary to determine whether any of the records were covered by attorney-client privilege, the lawyer said.
The searches are the result of a months-long probe into Cohen and seek evidence of crimes, “many of which have nothing to do with his work as an attorney, but rather relate to Cohen’s own business dealings,” the government said in a filing Friday afternoon.