Donald Trump values loyalty over competence, which is probably why he’s kept the hilariously inept Michael Cohen around for so long. Now, CNN reports that another one of Trump’s attorneys — who’s also a vice president of the Trump Organization — has been named in legal documents surrounding the “hush money” Cohen paid to Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election in order to keep Trump’s affair with Daniels secret.
A “demand for arbitration” document dated February 22, 2018, names Jill Martin, a top lawyer at the Trump Organization based in California, as the attorney representing “EC, LLC.” “EC, LLC” is Essential Consultants, according to Daniels’ lawsuit, a company that Cohen established in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Daniels.
Martin’s title at the Trump Organization is vice president and assistant general counsel, according to her LinkedIn page. The address listed for Martin on both documents is One Trump National Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, which is the location of Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles.
The documents were part of Cohen’s request for a restraining order against Daniels, to keep her from speaking about her alleged affair with Trump.
Martin denied working on the lawsuit as an employee of the Trump Organization, telling CNN that the “Trump Organization is not representing anyone and, with the exception of one of its California based attorneys in her individual capacity facilitating the initial filing.” But CNN also points out that Martin denies having ever worked for Trump’s presidential campaign, even though she made television appearances on that very network speaking in defense of Trump during the campaign.
More importantly, this could mean that the Trump campaign broke campaign finance laws to pay off Daniels, according to Larry Noble of the Campaign Legal Center:
Larry Noble, general counsel of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center and a CNN contributor, said the arbitration document offers evidence of a possible connection between the Trump Organization and the payment to Daniels, which could violate campaign finance law.
“This is further evidence that the Trump Organization is involved. If they are going to argue that this payment was separate and apart from the Trump Organization, then why is the organization representing this company now?”
All of this raises the question: couldn’t Trump have gotten another lawyer to work on this case who doesn’t also happen to be a lawyer for the Trump Organization?
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, filed a lawsuit against Trump last week, arguing that because the hush money agreement was never signed by Trump, it’s null and void. Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, have an interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes that’s set to air on Sunday.