Far-right network OAN retracts false story about Michael Cohen’s affair with Stormy Daniels

Far-right network OAN retracts false story about Michael Cohen’s affair with Stormy Daniels

The far-right cable network One America News retracted a story and apologized Monday after it falsely claimed former President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen was the person who had an affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels and secretly used her to “blackmail” ” Trump Organization.

Cohen and Daniels are key witnesses against Trump in the ongoing New York state criminal trial. Trump is accused of falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment Daniels received so she wouldn’t go public with their alleged affair before the 2016 election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied the affair.

The announcement from OAN contained a public apology to Cohen “for any harm the publication may have caused” and said the network “regretted” publishing the “false” allegations about the Cohen-Daniel affair, which they both denied. The network said the story would be removed from its website and social media accounts.

The withdrawal does not include a financial payment, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The article was published last month and claimed, according to an unnamed source, that Cohen and Daniels had been in a relationship for years and that “the whole hush money scheme was cooked up” by Cohen. The false allegation appears to have originated from a right-wing figure who posted the allegation on X, formerly Twitter.

“The notion that before the election I was going to blackmail the man I supported and believed would be president, all to make $130,000 that I didn’t keep for myself, is ridiculous. It’s just stupid,” Cohen said in a statement.

The admission from OAN that it had published false claims marks the latest example of how right-wing media outlets continue to face consequences for promoting pro-Trump misinformation. OAN recently settled a defamation suit with Smartmatic, a voting technology company falsely accused of rigging the 2020 election against Trump. The terms of the agreement are not open.

The speed with which OAN settled Cohen’s dispute — just four weeks after the story was published — speaks to the potential danger the small network could face from additional defamation lawsuits.

Cohen hired veteran attorney Justin Nelson after OAN published the story last month. Nelson is best known for representing Dominion Voting Systems in its blockbuster defamation case against Fox News, which ended in a historic $787 million settlement last year.

“Today’s retraction by OAN represents a victory for accountability,” Nelson said in a statement. “This recall is not about money. It is about protecting the truth.”

A lawyer for OAN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

OAN has established itself as perhaps the most extreme of the pro-Trump news outlets. The little-noticed network regularly gives airtime to baseless conspiracy theories, most notably after the 2020 election.

Its reporters sometimes cross the line into right-wing politics. For example, an OAN reporter who simultaneously worked with the Trump campaign on the 2020 voter fraud was indicted last week in Arizona in connection with the voter scheme.

OAN is still facing a separate defamation suit brought by the Nelson law firm on behalf of Dominion regarding the promotion of 2020 election lies.

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