President Trump finally denied paying the porn star — and likely gave new legs to her legal case against him.
Trump broke months of silence Thursday on his alleged tryst with Stormy Daniels, claiming he didn’t know his personal attorney paid six figures to silence the adult-film actress just days before the 2016 presidential election.
The President made the denial on his way back to the White House from West Virginia, marking his first public repudiation of Daniels’ claim that they had sex in the summer of 2006.
“No,” Trump told reporters onboard Air Force One when asked if he knew of attorney Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels 12 days before he won the White House.
Trump demurred when asked why Cohen paid the hush money.
“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael,” he said.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges she signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for the money.
Trump’s long-awaited personal denial puts him in a precarious new position, experts say.
If true, it distances the President from suggestions he was involved in a payment that may have violated federal campaign laws. But if Trump really knew zilch about Cohen’s deal with Daniels, it could bolster her claim that the pact she signed is a sham.
The 39-year-old porn star is currently battling the hush agreement in court, charging it should be declared null and void because Trump never signed it.
“The strength of our case just went up exponentially,” Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti tweeted Thursday. “You can’t have an agreement when one party claims to know nothing about it.”
Speaking by phone to the Daily News, Avenatti said it speaks volumes that Trump refused to answer further questions and confirm whether he ever slept with Daniels.
“It’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t have the gumption to deny the affair because he knows that to do so would be an absolute lie,” Avenatti told The News.
The lawyer said he will file a motion Monday to have Trump and Cohen testify under oath in an open court. A judge denied a similar motion from Avenatti last week, saying it was prematurely filed.
Avenatti said he’s hopeful the follow-up filing will be successful since Trump’s Air Force One remark adds another layer of confusion that could cause a judge to demand testimony from Trump.
Cohen, meanwhile, took Trump’s announcement as vindication.
“That’s what I have been saying all along and that’s what Michael has been saying all along,” a spokesperson for Cohen said in a statement. “Michael Cohen made the payment to protect business, family and reputation. It had nothing to do with the election.”
Cohen’s legal team requested earlier this week that Daniels’ case be resolved in closed-door arbitration proceedings. But Trump’s new denial could derail that attempt.
“I don’t think there can be an agreement if the main party isn’t aware of it,” Jeffrey Cohen, a family lawyer and expert on matrimonial law, told The News.
Cohen said Trump could very well be asked to testify to set the record straight about what he knew and when he knew it, thereby opening himself up to a legal discovery process.
“He’s caught in a trap,” Cohen said.
Michael Cohen, meanwhile, admitted earlier this year that he personally paid Daniels, but he has refused to say why or whether Trump ever reimbursed him.
Last month, Daniels told correspondent Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes” that a mystery man once threatened to hurt her if she didn’t “leave Trump alone.”
Daniels alleges that she and Trump had sex in a Lake Tahoe hotel room in the summer of 2006.