Karen McDougal, an ex-Playboy model whose name first appeared in the news back in November of 2016, is suing American Media, Inc., according to a new report from the New York Times on Tuesday. Ms. McDougal was paid $150,000 in 2016 for her story regarding an affair she had with then-candidate for the presidency Donald Trump a decade earlier, shortly after his marriage to his current wife Melania.
Ms. McDougal is of course the second woman now to sue for the right to be heard about her dalliance with Trump, following the high-profile case of Stormy Daniels, an adult film star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
American Media is the company that owns the National Enquirer, the tabloid magazine sold in supermarket checkouts with the historical equivalent of “clickbait” headlines about trashy stories like celebrity gossip, notable deaths, and conspiracy theories.
McDougal accuses American Media of misleading her about the contract she signed and of working secretly with Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer who infamously paid off Stormy Daniels for her own silence about her affair with Trump. She also points out that she was paid for an exclusive story — one she could not tell other news outlets — which the National Enquirer then “sat on” and refused to publish, not coincidentally just before the 2016 election.
American Media’s CEO, David J. Pecker, in addition to sounding like an actual alias for Donald J. Trump if he were in adult films himself, is close friends with the president, which is hardly surprising, given Trump’s penchant for the blissfully fanciful and tacky trappings of the fantasy world of celebrity. The National Enquirer has, in fact, run a number of pro-Trump pieces, including this one that I personally snapped a photo of in the checkout line exactly one year ago today:
Trump’s relationship with the magazine notwithstanding, he should certainly be concerned about the new lawsuit, as its successful resolution in favor of McDougal would mean that she had the right to publicly tell her own story. The complication for Team Trump is that they can’t actually get involved without admitting that either Michael Cohen did secretly work with American Media, Inc, to ensure McDougal’s silence, or that they have a vested interest in not allowing her story to be told.
The National Enquirer‘s policy of buying stories that might damage the reputations of people they are close to then refusing to publish them — known in the publishing industry as “catch and kill” — is widely documented.
But if they are involved with the kinds of illegal campaign contributions that the payoffs to the two women are being considered as, they may find themselves on the receiving end of a federal subpoena.
Featured image via Opposition Report Gallery