Michael Cohen Makes Amends with Stormy Daniels on His Podcast: 'I'm Sorry for the Needless Pain'
Cohen and Daniels — long linked by the notoriety of his illegal $130,000 hush-money payment — say they had not spoken before
Pornographic actress Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's disgraced former lawyer and "fixer" who paid her off in 2016 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with the former president, say they have now made amends.
"Thanks for giving me a second chance," Cohen, 54, tells Daniels, 41, on the latest episode of his Mea Culpa podcast. Cohen has been producing the series while under home arrest at his Manhattan apartment as he refashions himself a Trump dissenter.
Cohen and Daniels — long linked by the notoriety of his illegal $130,000 hush-money payment, which first became public in early 2018 — say they had never spoken before the Mea Culpa interview released Tuesday.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to tax evasion and campaign finance crimes in connection with the payment to Daniels (née Stephanie Clifford) and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was also disbarred. He separately pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about Trump's prior business dealings with Russia.
(Trump has denied all claims of any affair or sexual misconduct from Daniels and numerous other women, but he was aware of the payment to Daniels.)
"Both of our stories will be forever linked with Donald Trump, but also with one another," Cohen says during the episode.
In the interview, Daniels describes meeting with Trump in 2006, goes on to criticize former First Lady Melania Trump, and more or less buries the hatchet with Cohen, who led his client's effort to silence her about her affair story in the final weeks of the 2016 election.
"You and I both went through hell and back," Cohen says. "I'm sorry for the needless pain I put you through."
Read on for more highlights.
Daniels Says Sex with Trump Was 'the Worst 90 Seconds of My Life'
In the interview, Daniels continued to make it clear there is no love lost between her and Trump. Daniels tells Cohen her experience with him was "a horror show."
Daniels describes rendezvousing in Trump's hotel room after the pair had met earlier at a charity golf event. After speaking for several hours in Trump's hotel, Daniels says, the two had sex, which she wasn't originally anticipating.
"I excused myself to go to the ladies room," Daniels says. "When I came out, I was genuinely startled to see him waiting for me [in his underwear]."
Daniels says Trump "was perched on the bed doing his best, yet horrifyingly disturbing, impression of Burt Reynolds."
Cohen presses Daniels for further details and she summarizes: "It was the worst 90 seconds of my life."
Daniels Says Melania Trump ‘Sold Her Soul’
At one point, Cohen asks Daniels what she would say to Trump's third wife, the former first lady, citing a previous interview he did on his podcast with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Mrs. Trump's ex-friend and White House adviser who went on to write a scathing tell-all.
Wolkoff, 50, had told Cohen that Mrs. Trump had privately referred to Daniels as a "porn hooker," to which Daniels responded by saying the former first lady was the "exact same thing." Except she "sold her soul" by marrying Trump.
The former first lady has often brushed off questions about her husband's alleged affair. "I have much more important things to think about and to do," she told ABC News in 2018.
Daniels Says Trump Affair Uprooted Her Life
When news broke about Daniels' story of an affair, she says, she faced plenty of hardships: "I had a life. A beautiful house in a quiet neighborhood in Texas and nobody knew who I was and I was very successful."
Daniels says she was also the second-highest star in the adult film industry, had just signed a lucrative deal with a major company, was set to appear in a music video (which was later squashed "because the band didn't want to be associated with me") and had found success as an equestrian rider under an anonymous name.
But all that changed when she spoke up about Trump. "I made a lot more money," she says, "but I spent a lot more money [on legal fees]." Daniels also says she restrained herself from seeing her young daughter for six months in order to avoid news coverage of her family.
At the same time, Daniels says she lost touch with friends and family who were Trump supporters: "They instantly hated me," she says, adding that some friends began to unknowingly take photos of her while at events together, treating her "like a circus freak."
Daniels Was 'Surprised' to Hear from Cohen
Even now, Daniels says she "was a little surprised" Cohen reached out for an interview.
"I didn't know if you were brave enough to do it," she tells him on Mea Culpa.
Daniels explains "because of this situation," she had some fortunate turns: becoming a bestselling author and getting "to go places I would never get to go."
But overall, Daniels says she wishes the affair with Trump had never happened.
"If I could just wave a magic wand and make everything go back to the way it was before," she says, "I would absolutely do that."