There's one small matter in the whole Trump-"Stormy Daniels" story that I think has generally gone unaddressed. Not completely, I've heard it touched on once or twice. But given how many words have been expended on the situation, and for how long, it's next to nothing. It concerns that payment of $130,000 to make what Trump lawyers say was a false claim go away.
Here's the thing, though.
As far as I can tell, from what I've read over the decades and from what I've discussed over time with lawyers -- no one pays off a false claim, totally made-up, purely fictitious with...$130,000. If companies or individuals ever did such a thing, they know it would tell all lawyers to take on any, indeed every false claim against them because you know you'll be 100% assured a $130,000 settlement. People would be lining up to make false claims since it would be a guaranteed trip on the gravy train, being handed an easy payoff of $130,000 just to get rid of the nuisance suit. From what I've been told and read, companies tend to pay off in the range of $1,000-5,000 to make false claims go away. It's not worth a lawyer's time to handle that, even when receiving 40% from your client. And not worth a client's time to pay a lawyer an hourly rate. But...$130,000??? For a false clam??!!! Just doesn't happen.
"Mr. Trump doesn't know this women. There was no relationship. He has never spoken to this women. There was no affair. The story is false. There is no evidence. This is a false claim. It is totally, unequivocally untrue. And that is why she was given $130,000. To end this false, nuisance charge. Because it is our experience that if you offer people $130,000 to simply stop saying something that did NOT happen, they will do so. And by 'they,' we mean pretty much everyone in the world. Prospective claimants should keep us out of the process, we just don't want to waste time with such annoyances. Send your money orders directly to Michael Cohen, in care of Essential Consultants, LLC. Please be advised that there will be a backlog getting checks out."
And hey, why limit such nuisance claims to just sexual encounters? Why not any false claim to make them go away? Supposedly had a bad Trump steak with too much gristle? Ka-ching. Your Trump Vodka left such a bitter aftertaste you say it got you sick? Here's $130K, no go away. Y'know, maybe that explains why he had to declare bankruptcy six times! By from what they say, that seems to be the Trump policy.
I have this image of someone going into a bank for a $500,000 loan and them asking her what collateral she can put up to secure it. And she shows them a false claim letter against Trump and she gets approved.
Yes, I know an explanation is probably along the lines of, "Well, this was a special case because it was right before the election, when even a false claim could be damaging." But given that 19 women had already made charges of sexual abuse against them by Trump, and he not only didn't pay any of them a nickel, but actually even threatened to sue them (although he didn't, mind you...), the explanation has no meaning. It further has no meaning since Trump was caught on tape admitting to sexual abuse and dismissed it as faux-locker room talk. And it has even less meaning when we know of all the times Trump did sue people and threaten lawsuits to make them go away. But here, with this apparently "false claim," she was given $130,000???
I know that it is not widely believed that Trump didn't know "Stormy Daniels" or have some sort of a relationship with her. But that lack of belief is based on general principle and his personal history. However, it's the fact of a $130,000 payment for what is supposedly a "false claim" that I think is the most damning proof of all.
Because if that's really, truly the Trump modus operandi for how to handle false claims, we may finally have a replacement for Social Security if it ever does goes bankrupt. Although given Trump's past, he may do so first... Again.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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