CYBERSPACE—Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney and right-hand man, Michael Cohen, is promising to reveal the truth behind the scandal over Trump’s alleged hush-money payoff to AVN Hall of Famer Stormy Daniels, in a new book that Cohen is is now shopping to New York publishing houses, according to a report Wednesday by the Daily Beast online magazine.
It was Cohen, according to media reports in January, who arranged a $130,000 “hush money” payoff to Daniels in October of 2016, a month before that year’s presidential election—the election that put Trump in the Oval Office. The purpose of the payoff, the reports say, was to keep Daniels from squawking about an extramarital affair that she had with Trump a decade earlier.
Cohen, according to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, even set up a shell company in Delaware—where corporations are not require to reveal the names of their executives—to hide the fact that the payment came from anyone connected to Trump, much less the lawyer who had represented him and acted as perhaps Trump’s closest confidant for the previous 10 years.
When Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, sent that payment to Daniels, according to the reports, he even required the adult video star, whose name is already a pseudonym, to use a pseudonym. For purposes of the payoff, Stormy Daniels allegedly became “Peggy Peterson.”
What will Cohen say in his proposed book? The lawyer, who met Trump in 2006 and was quickly hired by the then-Apprentice star as executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Trump, isn’t giving away any spoilers just yet.
The Daily Beast reported only that Cohen’s book, to be titled Trump Revolution: From the Tower to the White House, Understanding Donald J. Trump, will bring “clarity” to what he called the “unfortunate situation” involving Daniels.
But there appears to be one certainty about Cohen’s version of the Daniels story, whatever the details turn out to be. Cohen will paint Trump in a favorable, even glowing light. Cohen, a 51-year-old Long Island native, has been described in one recent magazine profile as willing “to take a bullet for Trump.”
In the book proposal that fell into the hands of Daily Beast reporters, Cohen describes himself as the Trump “family fix-it guy” and boasts that “no issue was too big, too sticky or too oddball for me to tackle. I saw it all, handled it all. And still do.”
Cohen has been fiercely loyal to Trump—even though he grew up a lifelong Democrat who voted for Trump’s personal bête noire Barack Obama in 2008 and worked on the 1988 presidential campaign of then-Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. Cohen did not switch his registration to the Republican party until March of 2017, almost two months after Trump was sworn into office.
Stormy Daniels at the 2017 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo; photo by Hew Burney