In the fall of 2017 Elliott Broidy agreed to pay Shera Bechard $1.6 million in eight quarterly payments of $200,000. The first of these payments was made on December 1st.
On Monday, April 9th, 2018, Michael Cohen’s office was raided by federal authorities.
Sometime later that week, someone leaked to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and CNN this story: Supposedly, a non-disclosure agreement found in Cohen’s office, using the same pseudonyms employed in the Donald Trump-Stormy Daniels NDA, was actually between Elliott Broidy and Shera Bechard. Broidy, per this source, had a long-running affair with Bechard, which resulted in her becoming pregnant. He agreed to pay her $1.6 million to not disclose the affair. She, per this same source, subsequently had an abortion.
The Wall Street Journal faithfully transcribed this account in a story on Friday, April 13th.
In early May, I laid out a detailed case in New York Magazine for the theory that Trump, not Broidy, had an affair with Bechard, and that Broidy had agreed to supply the funds to silence her.
Subsequently, the following facts came to light :
(1) Broidy, who has a history of bribing public officials, met twice in the Oval Office with Donald Trump, to lobby for the interests of his client, the United Arab Emirates. The second of these meeting took place on December 2nd, 2017, that is, the day after the first payment was made to Shera Bechard. A few days after that, Broidy’s defense contractor firm signed a $600 million deal with the U.A.E. I outlined these developments here.
(2) Last week, Broidy suddenly announced that he considered the NDA “void,” and he wasn’t going to make any more payments (he had made two of the scheduled eight). Significantly, he announced his decision to do so to the WSJ.
The reason this is significant is, because, like so many other aspects of this strange case, announcing to the media his decision to stop making payments seems to make no sense in terms of basic litigation strategy. If Broidy’s lawyer on this matter, Chris Clark, thinks he actually has some legal ground for voiding the NDA, the standard tactic would be to approach Bechard’s lawyer Peter Stris, present the argument, and try to hammer out some sort of settlement that would make sense to both parties under the circumstances. Simply announcing to the world that you’re not going to pay any more guarantees that you’ll be sued. It also throws this story, which Broidy’s lawyers keep swearing he’s desperate to keep out of the news, back onto the front page.
(3) I wrote another piece on these developments, which led Broidy’s PR firm to represent to me that Broidy might sue me and New York magazine. In response, I asked Broidy, Broidy’s lawyer, and the PR firm, to provide me with a statement that my theory that Broidy didn’t actually have an affair with Bechard was false, which I promised to duly publicize. They refused to do so.
(4) Two days later Bechard sued Broidy, Bechard’s original lawyer Keith Davidson, and Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti filing her complaint under seal, meaning that, unless a judge ruled otherwise, the complaint would remain unavailable to the public. Yesterday, Avenatti went to court to get the complaint unsealed. The judge refused to do so, but did provide him with a copy (he hadn’t seen the complaint until then). Avenatti has already scheduled a deposition with Bechard for next week.
Per the Daily Beast, the lawsuit includes “troublesome claims that Broidy wouldn’t want to become public.”
(5) Last night, Yashar Ali published a story in the Huffington Post with this lede:
Shera Bechard, the Playboy Playmate who had an affair with a former Republican National Committee deputy finance chairman, Elliott Broidy, and later entered into a hush-money agreement with him, has never met or spoken to President Donald Trump, two sources familiar with the matter tell HuffPost. This news comes after weeks of speculation that Bechard had in fact had an affair with Trump and that Broidy had acted as a middleman to settle Bechard’s claim.
The sources, who are unaffiliated with the president, asked not to be named in order to speak frankly about sensitive information. When asked by HuffPost about the speculation that Broidy acted as a conduit, both sources denied the rumors and said there had been no affair — or even any contact — between Bechard and Trump.
The rest of Ali’s story is a rehash of the existing claims and counter-claims regarding this matter.
(1) The assertion that Bechard “has never met or spoken to Donald Trump” is pretty audacious, given that exactly two people in the world are in a position to make this statement in any kind of a definitive way, and I’m pretty sure neither one of them spoke to Ali about this. I suspect that what happened here is that a couple of Bechard’s friends told Ali that Bechard told them that she’s never met or spoken to Trump. That’s the very definition of a thinly sourced claim (hearsay, with the purported statements being exactly what you would expect Bechard to be telling people at this moment, whether it was true or not). After all, Shera Bechard is still trying to collect $1.2 million, not to mention avoid any potential legal liability if my theory regarding the matter is correct.
(2) Why is the purported fact that Bechard has never met or spoken to Trump “sensitive information,” that justifies keeping these sources off the record? That claim seems like the exact opposite of sensitive information.
(3) I spoke at length this week with someone who says they had a long conversation with Bechard in 2011, in the course of which Bechard, who was living in the Playboy Mansion at the time, said she had met “Mr. Trump” via Hugh Hefner, her boyfriend at the time (Can you call an 80something man who literally has a woman 58 years his junior on retainer her “boyfriend?” Feels awkward, stylistically speaking). The source, who after considerable investigation on my part appears credible, also told me a lot of other things about Bechard, Trump, Hefner, the Playboy Mansion, and various immigration law proceedings, which I’m not going to report at this time.
(4) Leaving everything else aside, it would be surprising if Bechard had never met Trump, given that she was living in the Playboy Mansion in 2011 and 2102, and at that time Trump and Hefner seemed to be having a fantastically sleazy bromance, that featured many visits on Trump’s part to Hef’s House of the Rising Sun (much more on this shortly).
(5) There is still not a shred of evidence that Elliott Broidy had ever met Shera Bechard, at least not before he started forking over huge tracts of cash to her last December.
In sum, somebody or bodies badly want this story to go away, but the fashion in which they’re trying to make it disappear is to say the least extremely peculiar and counterproductive.