OAN Retracts and Apologizes for False Story About Key Trump Trial Witness

Timothy Clary/AFP via Getty Images
Timothy Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Far-right cable news network One America News apologized to Donald Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen Monday after retracting a report that suggested he—rather than Trump himself—had been the one who carried out an affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The affair in question, and a subsequent hush-money payout to Daniels orchestrated by Trump and Cohen, is at the center of Trump’s first criminal trial, which opened two weeks ago in New York City.

“OAN today has retracted its March 27 article entitled “Whistleblower: Avenatti Alleged Cohen­ Daniels Affair Since 2006, Pre-2016 Trump Extortion Plan,” and is taking it down from all sites and removing it from all social media,” a note from the network reads. “This retraction is part of a settlement reached with Michael Cohen. Mr. Avenatti has denied making the allegations. OAN apologizes to Mr. Cohen for any harm the publication may have caused him.

“The article, quoting a source, falsely claimed that Mr. Cohen and Ms. Daniels “were having an affair since 2006” and that, according to a source, ‘the whole hush money scheme was cooked up by [Mr. Cohen] to extort the Trump Organization before the 2016 election.’ These statements were false. OAN regrets their publication.”

Smartmatic and MAGA Network OAN Settle Election Defamation Case

Following the erroneous report, Cohen quickly hired a well-known defamation lawyer to take on the network, which also recently settled a defamation case brought by voting software company Smartmatic which accused it of peddling Trump’s 2020 election lies—claims similar to the ones that led Fox News to pay out a $787 million settlement to voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems.

In its retraction note, OAN admits that Cohen, Daniels and her former lawyer Michael Avenatti—who was OAN’s ultimate “source” for the claims—all denied the allegations.

A statement provided to the network by one of Avenatti’s paralegals at the time lambasted OAN for running the story in the first place.

“You folks should be smarter than to believe this nonsense. The story is completely fabricated, untrue and bogus, and is nothing more than a ridiculous attempt by this idiot [the Source] to try and escape being a nobody.”

Cohen on Monday cheered OAN’s decision to settle the case and retract the story, writing in a statement: “I am pleased that OAN has agreed to retract this story and has acknowledged that the statement is false. While this settlement cannot undo the harm that the publication caused me, it is important to set the record straight-which is what this settlement does.”

One of his lawyers, E. Danya Perry, added in a statement shared with The Daily Beast: “This result is a vindication for Michael Cohen.”

“He has faced severe consequences for telling the truth,” she said. “With this action he has made clear that those who slander him will face their own consequences.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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