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“I can’t get into any of that,” Mr. Cohen said.

Charles Wolfram, an emeritus professor of legal ethics at Cornell University, said the situation raised a host of potential issues, but that more facts were needed to understand which rules applied to it.

“The thing seems so weird that it invites an inquiry into what you’re doing,” he said. “Lawyers don’t go around giving $130,000 to strangers, benefiting their clients, without billing their clients.”

Keith Davidson, a Los Angeles lawyer who represented Ms. Clifford in the 2016 transaction, issued a statement Wednesday declaring that Mr. Cohen had told him at the time that the $130,000 payment was coming from his own funds.

“I represented Stephanie Clifford in the Michael Cohen/Stephanie Clifford transaction,” Mr. Davidson’s statement said. “I read today that Michael Cohen reports that the source of the $130,000 paid to Ms. Clifford was from his own personal funds. That assertion is in complete harmony…



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