Porn star Stormy Daniels on Tuesday said she was "proud" of President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, thanking him for his courage in "finally beginning to tell the truth about what you did."
Daniels' statement came as Cohen testified to a congressional committee about hush money paid to her and Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep quiet about alleged affairs with Trump, among other issues.
"In his testimony today, Michael Cohen described serious crimes and we should stay focused on those. But I do want to make a brief statement to Mr. Cohen directly," Daniels said.
"Michael, I'm proud of you for finally beginning to tell the truth about what you did, and trying to repair some of the harm you have caused. I can hear the pain and regret you feel for betraying your family and your country. My heart goes out to you and your family."
Daniels also said: "You spoke about how the president and his attorney put you and your family in danger by calling you a liar and a rat and disparaging you in public."
"I understand your fear, Michael. I have a family too. Do you believe now that when you and the president called me a liar, when you were his attorney and you insulted me, threatened to bankrupt me and worse, that you put me and my family in danger? I remember the fear you feel. I still feel it," Daniels said. "Thank you for having the courage, at long last, to begin to tell the truth. I hope that someday soon your family and mine can both leave this nightmare behind."
Cohen has said he paid Daniels $130,000 on the eve of the 2016 presidential election at Trump's direction to buy her silence about one-night stand the real-estate mogul allegedly had with her a decade earlier.
Questions about his use of a shell company to pay Daniels that were raised in media reports last year led to an FBI raid on his residences and office in New York City last year, and ultimately his guilty pleas to multiple criminal charges.
On Tuesday, he submitted to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee two checks of $35,000 apiece to him, one of which bears Trump's signature, for what Cohen testified were installment payments to reimburse him for that hush money.
The check from Trump was signed on Aug. 1, 2017, "when he was president of the United States, pursuant to the cover-up," Cohen testified. "This $35,000 check was one of 11 check installments that was paid throughout the year, while he was president."
Cohen also has admitted arranging for the publisher of the National Enquirer to pay McDougal $150,000 to buy her silence about her own alleged affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007.
He has said Trump had him facilitate the payments to both women to avoid having their stories damage his chances to win the presidency.
Trump has denied having affairs with Daniels and McDougal. He also has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the payments to the women.
The 52-year-old Cohen last year pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law by the payments, which were not disclosed as expenditures by Trump's campaign or benefits to the campaign. He also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about details of an effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, and to tax and other financial crimes.
Cohen is scheduled to surrender May 6 to begin serving a three-year prison sentence.
Federal prosecutors in New York City are continuing to investigate the payments to Daniels and McDougal. Cohen is cooperating with that probe, and testified Tuesday that prosecutors there are also aware or alleged wrongdoing or illegal acts related to Trump that are being investigated.