A former Playboy model who says she thought she was selling her story about her alleged affair with Donald Trump to The National Enquirer parent American Media Inc. for publication now is suing to be released from that deal, The New York Times reports.
Although the $150K deal required Karen McDougal to remain silent about the alleged affair to all other parties, McDougal discovered that it did not require the Enquirer ever to publish it, she says in the lawsuit (read it here).
Not long before Trump was elected to the White House, Wall Street Journal published a report noting that American Media had coughed up the $150K in what is known as a catch-and-kill tactic. More recently, The New Yorker made reference to an eight-page testimonial of the alleged affair penned by McDougal, provided to that magazine by a pal of hers and confirmed by the 1998 Playmate of the Year.
McDougal claimed she had a 10-month “romantic relationship” with Trump that began in 2006. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, she alleged that when Trump became the Republican presidential nominee a decade later, American Media worked “secretly” with Trump’s personal “fixer” and, she claims, her own lawyer to buy her silence.
She claimed nearly half of the $150K went to her lawyer who, she says in the suit, she did not realize “was colluding with the other side.” McDougal says she was lured into the deal with a “false promise to jumpstart her career as a health and fitness model.” She said she was told AMI would guarantee her two magazine covers, including one in Men’s Fitness, which AMI also owns, as well as 24 months of both monthly feature print articles and a weekly online column.
NYT reports that Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen was “secretly involved” in McDougal’s talks with AMI. Cohen’s also the lawyer who reportedly facilitated that NDA payment to porn star Stormy Daniels/Stephenie Clifford, with regard to her claims about her alleged affair with Trump around the same time.
“She was tricked into signing it while being misled as to its contents (including by her own lawyer, on whose advice she was entitled to rely),” the lawsuit claims. To date, an AMI spokesperson says the company has published a cover featuring McDougal and about two dozen columns or “stories” featuring her. The contract McDougal signed gave AMI “the editorial discretion to publish her life story,” the rep said.
The company amended her contract to let her respond to “legitimate press inquiries” about Trump in 2016, NYT reported. The AMI spokesperson added that the lawsuit’s suggestion AMI silenced her is therefore without merit. AMI previously had denied paying to squash damaging stories about now-President Trump.
White House and/or Trump reps have denied his having relationships with either the porn star or the Playboy bunny.
In other Trump news Tuesday, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge gave the go-ahead to a defamation suit brought against POTUS by former The Apprentice competitor Summer Zervos. Last year Zervos accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2007, which Trump denied, claiming she made it up to score “10 minutes of fame.” Zervos responded by filing a defamation lawsuit. The judge’s decision thwarts Trump’s move to have the case dismissed.