Timeline: Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels and $130,000 to purchase her silence

Washington — Manhattan prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump’s alleged “hush cash” fee of $130,000 to grownup movie star Stormy Daniels in 2016 recently invited the previous president to testify within the probe, a step that generally comes earlier than an indictment in New York.

The alleged scheme first got here to gentle years in the past, when Trump was nonetheless in workplace, however the investigation has gained new momentum in current months, with the Manhattan district lawyer’s workplace convening a grand jury to look at the matter.

An indictment of a former president can be a primary in American historical past and a politically explosive step with Trump in search of the GOP nomination for president in 2024. His lawyer has stated he has no plans to take part within the probe, and the previous president has denounced the investigation as a witch hunt.

The developments in New York have as soon as once more drawn consideration to Trump and his allies’ well-documented efforts to suppress damaging tales forward of the 2016 election and the sprawling investigations that ensued. Michael Cohen, his former lawyer and “fixer,” ultimately pleaded responsible to marketing campaign finance fees stemming from his involvement with the funds and served three years in jail.

The next timeline of these efforts and the district lawyer’s evolving investigation is predicated on court docket data, public filings and feedback made by the important thing gamers concerned. Trump has denied most of the particulars under, and stated he by no means had affairs with Daniels, whose actual title is Stephanie Clifford, nor Karen McDougal, one other lady who alleged a relationship and was paid for her silence.


July: In accordance with an interview Daniels would give to “60 Minutes” in 2018, Daniels meets Trump, the star of NBC’s hit present “The Apprentice,” at a celeb golf event at Lake Tahoe in Nevada. She says he invited her to dinner, and she or he met him at his lodge suite, the place they’d intercourse. He later invitations her to a Trump Vodka launch occasion in California, in addition to to his workplace in Trump Tower in New York.

Daniels is 27 on the time. Trump is 60, and his spouse Melania had just lately given start to their son. 

Golf: Archive
Donald Trump performs within the 2006 American Century Celeb Golf Match performed on the Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Nevada. John Cordes/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photographs


July: A yr after their first interplay, Trump asks Daniels to fulfill at his bungalow on the Beverly Hills Lodge in Los Angeles to debate a doable look on the spin-off “Celeb Apprentice.” The 2 spend 4 hours collectively however do not have intercourse, Daniels says later, and she or he leaves after Trump says he’s nonetheless engaged on securing her a spot on the present. 

August: Trump calls Daniels and tells her he could not get her on “Celeb Apprentice.”

In this Feb. 11, 2007 file photo, Stormy Daniels arrives for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
On this Feb. 11, 2007, file photograph, Stormy Daniels arrives for the forty ninth Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Matt Sayles / AP


Might: Daniels provides an interview to the magazine In Touch describing her encounters with Trump in alternate for $15,000. Two workers later inform CBS Information that the interview by no means ran as a result of Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, threatened to sue when the publication requested Trump for remark. Daniels says she was by no means paid.

A couple of weeks later, Daniels says she is threatened by a person who approaches her in Las Vegas and tells her to “go away Trump alone” and “neglect the story.”


June: Karen McDougal, an actress and former Playboy mannequin, begins making an attempt to promote her story of an alleged affair she had with Trump in 2006 and 2007. She retains lawyer Keith Davidson, who approaches the Nationwide Enquirer a couple of doable deal. 

July 19: Trump secures the Republican Social gathering’s nomination for president.

Donald Trump accepts the Republican Party's nomination for president in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016.
Donald Trump accepts the Republican Social gathering’s nomination for president in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. Ida Mae Astute/Disney Normal Leisure Content material by way of Getty Photographs

Aug. 5: The Nationwide Enquirer secures the rights to McDougal’s account for $150,000 however by no means publishes her story, a tactic generally known as “catch and kill.” Federal prosecutors later say the settlement was meant “to suppress [her] story in order to forestall it from influencing the election.”

August and September: Cohen reaches an settlement with David Pecker, the chairman and CEO of the Nationwide Enquirer’s mother or father firm, American Media, Inc. (AMI), to safe the non-disclosure portion of the corporate’s take care of McDougal for $125,000. The deal between Cohen and AMI isn’t finalized, however Cohen retains a replica of the draft settlement.

Oct. 8: Daniels is now additionally represented by Davidson, who tells Dylan Howard, the editor-in-chief of the Nationwide Enquirer, that she is prepared to go on the report about her alleged affair. Howard and Pecker inform Cohen in regards to the dialog and put Cohen in contact with Davidson. 

Cohen negotiates a deal to pay Daniels $130,000 in alternate for the rights to her story and a non-disclosure settlement.

Michael Cohen walks through the lobby at Trump Tower in New York on Jan. 12, 2017.
Michael Cohen walks by way of the foyer at Trump Tower in New York on Jan. 12, 2017. Drew Angerer / Getty Photographs

Oct. 17: Cohen recordsdata paperwork to include a agency generally known as Important Consultants LLC in Delaware.

Oct. 25: No take care of Daniels has been finalized, and Davidson tells Cohen, Howard and Pecker that his shopper is near reaching an settlement with one other outlet to inform her story. Cohen agrees to finalize the deal. 

Oct. 26: Cohen opens a checking account for Important Consultants and transfers $131,000 he obtained by taking out a house fairness line of credit score into the brand new account. 

Oct. 27: Cohen wires $130,000 to Davidson, Daniels’ lawyer. 

Nov. 1: Cohen receives signed copies of the settlement between “Peggy Peterson” and “David Dennison.” It’s dated Oct. 28.

In an accompanying letter, “Peterson” is recognized as a pseudonym for Daniels. The identification of Dennison is redacted in later court docket filings, however Daniels’ lawyer later says it was the title utilized by Trump. The settlement bears the signatures of Daniels, Davidson and Cohen, however the signature for Dennison is clean. 

A screengrab of a page from the agreement between Stormy Daniels and then-candidate Donald Trump.
A screengrab of a web page from the settlement between Stormy Daniels and then-candidate Donald  Trump. Courtroom submitting

Nov. 4: The Wall Road Journal publishes a report detailing the $150,000 deal between McDougal and AMI. A Trump marketing campaign spokeswoman calls McDougal’s claims of an affair “completely unfaithful,” and AMI says it “has not paid folks to kill damaging tales about Mr. Trump.”

The Journal story mentions that Daniels “was in discussions with ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ in current months to publicly disclose what she stated was a previous relationship with Mr. Trump, based on folks conversant in the talks.”

Nov. 8: Election Day. Trump is elected president, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton.


January: Cohen seeks reimbursement from the Trump Group for $180,035 — $130,000 for the fee to Daniels, plus a wiring price and an additional $50,000. Trump Group executives double the reimbursement to $360,000 and add one other $60,000, for a complete of $420,000 to be paid in month-to-month installments for 12 months.

Cohen sends invoices for $35,000 per thirty days and receives $420,000 from the corporate over the course of the yr.

Jan. 20: Trump is sworn in because the forty fifth president of america.


Jan. 12: The Wall Road Journal publishes an article detailing the $130,000 fee to Daniels, the primary public acknowledgement of the scheme. Cohen says Trump “vehemently denies” having an affair however doesn’t handle the fee. 

Cohen additionally sends an announcement he claims is from “Stormy Daniels,” saying the tales of an affair are false.

Feb. 13: Cohen acknowledges making the fee to Daniels for the primary time, however denies being reimbursed and says it was not linked to the Trump marketing campaign, each assertions that he’ll later recant.

“Neither the Trump Group nor the Trump marketing campaign was a celebration to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the fee, both instantly or not directly,” Cohen stated in an announcement. “The fee to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a marketing campaign contribution or a marketing campaign expenditure by anybody.”

March 6: Daniels, who’s now represented by lawyer Michael Avenatti, sues Trump and Important Consultants LLC in California, an try to nullify the nondisclosure settlement, arguing that the deal is invalid since Trump by no means signed it. 

The swimsuit alleges she started an “intimate relationship” with Trump in 2006 that ended the next yr. She says she accepted $130,000 from Cohen in alternate for her silence in regards to the alleged relationship. The settlement and an accompanying letter are included within the submitting.

Daniels additionally alleges Cohen used “intimidation and coercive techniques” to get her to signal on to the assertion denying the affair.

Stormy Daniels wants to “set the record straight” on alleged Trump affair, lawyer says 05:54

March 9: Avenatti releases emails displaying Cohen used his Trump Group electronic mail handle to rearrange a wire switch linked to the settlement.

April 5: In his first public touch upon the matter, Trump says he was unaware of the $130,000 fee.

April 9: FBI brokers execute a search warrant at Cohen’s dwelling and workplace. The search is the primary indication of a federal probe into Cohen’s actions. Trump later calls the search “a shame.”

Might 2: Rudy Giuliani, newly employed as Trump’s private lawyer, makes the startling admission that the president reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 fee.

Might 3: Trump tweets that Cohen “acquired a month-to-month retainer, not from the marketing campaign and having nothing to do with the marketing campaign, from which he entered into, by way of reimbursement, a personal contract between two events, generally known as a non-disclosure settlement, or NDA.”

He adds that “[m]oney from the marketing campaign, or marketing campaign contributions, performed no roll [sic] on this transaction.”

July 20: With strain on Cohen mounting, CNN publishes a recording of a cellphone name between Cohen and Trump during which they mentioned the fee to McDougal earlier than it was made.

Secret audio tape between Trump and Michael Cohen released 03:56

Aug. 21: Cohen pleads guilty to eight federal fees of tax evasion, fraud and marketing campaign finance violations associated to the funds to Daniels and McDougal. He tells a federal court docket in Manhattan that Trump directed him to make the funds.

Aug. 28: CBS Information reports that the Manhattan District Legal professional’s Workplace has opened an investigation and is contemplating pursuing legal fees towards the Trump Group, one week after Cohen’s responsible plea. Investigators are stated to be trying into whether or not the Trump Group falsified enterprise data of reimbursements funds to Cohen.

Dec. 12: Cohen is sentenced to a few years in federal jail. After the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace for the Southern District of New York agrees to not prosecute AMI, the corporate admits to burying McDougal’s story to assist Trump’s marketing campaign.


Might 6: Cohen reports to federal jail in upstate New York.

Michael Cohen addresses the press as he leaves his apartment to begin serving a 3-year sentence at a federal prison in New York on May 6, 2019.
Michael Cohen addresses the press as he leaves his condominium to start serving a 3-year sentence at a federal jail in New York on Might 6, 2019. Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Company/Getty Photographs

July 18: Paperwork from the now-concluded federal probe into the funds suggest Trump was conscious of efforts to purchase the silence of each ladies within the days main as much as the election. 

The paperwork showed repeated communication between Cohen and Trump, in addition to one cellphone name that included Daniels’ lawyer and the AMI executives. 

“Primarily based on the timing of those calls, and the content material of the textual content messages and emails, I consider that no less than a few of these communications involved the necessity to stop Clifford from going public,” one FBI agent wrote. 

August: The workplace of Manhattan District Legal professional Cyrus Vance Jr. subpoenas the Trump Group for data associated to the funds. The New York Instances reports that investigators are “inspecting whether or not any senior executives on the firm filed false enterprise data in regards to the hush cash, which might be a state crime.”

Sept. 17: Vance’s workplace points a subpoena for Trump’s tax returns courting again to 2011, a sign that its investigation is increasing past the “hush cash” funds. Trump sues to dam the subpoena two days later, along with his attorneys arguing that “a sitting President of america is just not ‘topic to the legal course of’ whereas he’s in workplace.”

Oct. 7: U.S. District Decide Victor Marrero turns down Trump’s bid to maintain his tax data out of the fingers of Vance’s investigators, figuring out the president is making a “categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity.” Trump’s attorneys instantly enchantment the choice. 

New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. arrives for a hearing at federal appeals court President Donald Trump's tax records on Oct. 23, 2019.
New York District Legal professional Cyrus Vance Jr. arrives for a listening to at federal appeals court docket President Donald Trump’s tax data on Oct. 23, 2019. ANGELA WEISS/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

Nov. 4: The 2nd U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals rules that Trump’s claims of immunity “don’t bar the enforcement of a state grand jury subpoena directing a 3rd occasion to supply non-privileged materials, even when the subject material beneath investigation pertains to the president.” Trump appeals to the Supreme Courtroom.


Might 12: The Supreme Courtroom hears arguments in a pair of circumstances involving Trump’s tax data. Conservative and liberal justices alike query the president’s declare of “absolute immunity” from state investigations, seemingly skeptical of a blanket ruling shielding the president in non-federal circumstances. “You are asking for broader immunity than anybody else will get,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated. 

July 9: The Supreme Courtroom sides with Vance in a 7-2 ruling, discovering that Trump is just not immune from the district lawyer’s subpoena.

“2 hundred years in the past, a terrific jurist of our Courtroom established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the widespread responsibility to supply proof when known as upon in a legal continuing,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for almost all. “We reaffirm that precept in the present day and maintain that the President is neither completely immune from state legal subpoenas in search of his non-public papers nor entitled to a heightened normal of want.”


Feb. 3: Vance’s workplace brings in Mark Pomerantz, a former federal prosecutor with deep expertise in advanced monetary and arranged crime circumstances, as a particular assistant district lawyer. Pomerantz is working solely on the Trump case.

Feb. 25: Vance’s workplace obtains Trump’s tax returns, three days after the Supreme Courtroom rejected a last-ditch try by Trump to maintain them beneath wraps. 

March 12: Vance announces he is not going to search reelection that November, kicking off a high-stakes race for his alternative.

July 1: A Manhattan grand jury returns a 15-count indictment towards two Trump Group firms and Allen Weisselberg, its chief monetary officer. Each plead not responsible. Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Legal professional’s Workplace element the alleged crimes in court docket and a 25-page indictment filed in state court docket. 

The indictment alleges the corporate and Weisselberg orchestrated a scheme to funnel greater than $1.7 million in untaxed “oblique worker compensation” to the longtime govt starting in 2005. Prosecutors stated the Trump Group did not correctly report the funds to tax authorities.

Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg attends his arraignment hearing
Trump Group chief monetary officer Allen Weisselberg is escorted as he attends his arraignment listening to within the New York State Supreme Courtroom in New York Metropolis on July 1, 2021. ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS

Nov. 2: Alvin Bragg is elected as the subsequent Manhattan district lawyer.

Nov. 22: Cohen is released from federal custody after serving many of the final 18 months of his sentence beneath home arrest.


March 23: The New York Instances reveals that Pomerantz, who stepped down the month earlier than, wrote in his resignation letter to Bragg that he believes Trump is “responsible of quite a few felony violations.”

Pomerantz expressed frustration with the brand new district lawyer’s dealing with of the case, writing: “I consider that your choice to not prosecute Donald Trump now, and on the prevailing report, is misguided and utterly opposite to the general public curiosity. I due to this fact can’t proceed in my present place.”

Pomerantz wrote that “the group that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors little doubt about whether or not he dedicated crimes — he did.”

“I and others have suggested you that we’ve proof ample to determine Mr. Trump’s guilt past an affordable doubt, and we consider that the prosecution would prevail if fees have been introduced and the matter have been tried to an neutral jury,” he stated.

Former New York prosecutor pushes for charges against Trump 03:14

April 7: Bragg reiterates that the legal investigation into Trump and his firm stays energetic. He says investigators and prosecutors are “exploring proof not beforehand explored.”

Aug. 17: Weisselberg, the Trump Group CFO, pleads guilty. He admits to receiving greater than $1.7 million in untaxed compensation and agrees to cooperate with prosecutors within the legal case towards two Trump Group entities.

Nov. 17: On the Trump Group’s trial, Weisselberg testifies that Trump and two of his kids allegedly participated in a scheme to defraud tax authorities.

Dec. 6: A New York jury finds the 2 Trump Group firms guilty on all 17 fees of tax fraud and different crimes.

Protection attorneys stated Trump, who was not charged within the case, was unaware of the schemes taking part in out beneath him, whereas prosecutors stated he signed off on them. Trump’s kids additionally deny wrongdoing.


Jan. 17: Cohen meets with investigators from the district lawyer’s workplace, a brand new signal that the years-old investigation into Trump could also be selecting up steam.

“They’re calling me in for the 14th time, so we’ll see what occurs,” Cohen says exterior a authorities workplace constructing in downtown Manhattan, including that he hasn’t met with investigators since Bragg took workplace. “That is my first time assembly with Alvin Bragg.”

Michael Cohen arriving at a New York Metropolis authorities constructing on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, earlier than a two-hour interview with prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump. CBS Information

Jan. 30: The New York Instances reports that Bragg has just lately convened a grand jury to look at the proof within the “hush cash” probe. The report says Pecker, the AMI CEO, was noticed coming into the constructing the place the grand jury is assembly.

March 8: Kellyanne Conway, who was Trump’s senior counselor within the White Home, meets for no less than the second time with Manhattan prosecutors investigating the Daniels fee.

Cohen wrote in his 2020 memoir, “Disloyal,” that on Oct. 27, 2016, he unsuccessfully tried to name Trump to verify that he had made the fee to Daniels. Conway, he stated, known as again and “stated she’d cross alongside the excellent news.”

March 9: The district lawyer’s workplace invites Trump to testify earlier than the grand jury investigating the fee to Daniels, a transfer that means Trump might face an indictment within the case, based on a supply conversant in the matter. 

A Trump spokesperson says in an announcement that the “Manhattan District Legal professional’s risk to indict President Trump is solely insane. For the previous 5 years, the DA’s workplace has been on a Witch Hunt, investigating each facet of President Trump’s life, and so they’ve come up empty at each flip — and now this.” 

The spokesperson characterised the potential of Trump’s indictment as “a brand new political assault” and “a transparent exoneration of President Trump in all areas.” 

March 13: Trump’s lawyer says he is not going to be testifying earlier than the grand jury. 

“He will not be collaborating in that continuing — a continuing that we and most election regulation specialists consider is with completely no authorized benefit,” stated Joseph Tacopina, who represents Trump.

Cohen additionally testifies earlier than the grand jury for the primary time.

March 15: Cohen testifies once more for 3 hours.

“We’ll see what occurs, what questions they ask, after which on the finish the grand jurors have the chance to ask me questions and I am trying ahead to that,” Cohen stated.

Michael Cohen walks out of a Manhattan courthouse after testifying before a grand jury on March 15, 2023.
Michael Cohen walks out of a Manhattan courthouse after testifying earlier than a grand jury on March 15, 2023. Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Company by way of Getty Photographs

Clark Brewster, an lawyer for Daniels, additionally says his shopper met with investigators from the district lawyer’s workplace.

“Stormy responded to questions and has agreed to make herself obtainable as a witness, or for additional inquiry if wanted,” Brewster wrote on Twitter.  

Graham Kates, Melissa Quinn, Kathryn Watson and Pat Milton contributed reporting.


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