Documents released on Thursday show that the FBI believed then-candidate Donald Trump had been closely involved in the planning to hand over hush-money payments to the adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
The court documents were unsealed at the federal court in Manhattan during the case against Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, according to NBC.
Judge William Pauley disclosed on Wednesday the documents were unsealed due to the fact that federal investigators had ended their inquiry, according to The Guardian.
The documents describe a “series of calls, text messages, and emails” that were found that occurred between Cohen, Trump, campaign aide Hope Hicks, Daniels’ lawyer Keith Davidson, and David Pecker, CEO of American Media that publishes the National Enquirer.
“Based on the timing of these calls, and the content of the text messages and emails, I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public, particularly in the wake of the Access Hollywood story,” an FBI agent wrote in the documents referring to Daniels’ allegations that she had an affair with Trump.
The agent wrote that the information came from a review of Cohen’s phone records and emails. The documents also say that agents interviewed Hicks about her involvement.
The FBI alleges in the documents that Trump and Hicks had a four-minute call with Cohen on the evening of October 8, 2016, a day after the Access Hollywood tape was leaked with Trump bragging that he grabbed women by their genitals.
The unsealed documents describe a timeline of the phone calls. According to NBC, Cohen was involved in a series of calls with Davidson, Pecker, Hicks, and Trump.
The investigation showed that Trump was in close touch with Cohen when he was arranging the payments.
Cohen later admitted to making payments totaling $280,000 through a shell company to buy the silence of Daniels and the former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also alleged she had an affair with Trump.
“The conclusion of the investigation exonerating the Trump Organization’s role should be of great concern to the American people and investigated by Congress and the Department of Justice,” Cohen said in a statement made from jail.
Cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence for a number of crimes, including breaking campaign finance laws by hiding payments to Daniels as well as hiding payments to McDougal, according to The Guardian.
Trump has denied the affairs.