An explosive new report from two major news outlets on Thursday says that the National Enquirer paid a New York City doorman $30,000 during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep quiet about a rumor that Donald Trump had fathered an out-of-wedlock child with a woman who worked in the building — Trump World Tower, a skyscraper near the United Nations building in Manhattan.
The Associated Press wrote that its reporters could not confirm that the rumor of the child was true — but more importantly, the AP was able to confirm that the doorman who then worked in Trump World Tower, Dino Sajudin, received the $30,000 payment from the tabloid in exchange for signing an agreement that he would never discuss the rumor. In a provision similar to the silence agreement signed by adult video star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump, Sajudin’s deal required that he pay a penalty of $1 million if he violated the “hush” provision about the Trump rumor.
UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon, Sajudin issued a statement to the media.
“Today I awoke to learn that a confidential agreement that I had with AMI (The National Enquirer) with regard to a story about President Trump was leaked to the press,” the ex-doorman said in the statement. “I can confirm that while working at Trump World Tower I was instructed not to criticize President Trump’s former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child.”
The New Yorker magazine also published a story about the payment to Sajudin on Thursday — also reporting that it could not confirm whether or not Trump did, in fact, father a “love child” with the female Trump World Tower employee, while at the same time confirming that the National Enquirer made the $30,000 payment to Sajudin.
The tabloid’s owner, David Pecker, is a close friend of Trump’s and the nationally circulated paper frequently published wild stories attacking Trump’s opponents and enemies during the 2016 campaign.
A few of the Enquirer‘s front page stories attacking Trump’s perceived enemies may be viewed by clicking on this link.
Federal investigators are now probing the tabloid’s activities during the election, to learn whether the tabloid was actually acting as an arm of the Trump campaign, according to a Wednesday report by the New York Times. If prosecutors determine that the paper was indeed operating on behalf of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign, or Trump’s current 2020 campaign, both the Enquirer and the campaign could be on the hook for serious violations of election finance laws.
In Monday’s raids on the office, home, and hotel room of Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney and self-proclaimed “fix-it guy,” investigators were looking for records of communication between Cohen and Pecker, the Times reported. The two are reported to have been in contact over another “hush” payment made by the National Enquirer — to former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal who, like Stormy Daniels, says that she had a sexual relationship with Trump.
McDougal was paid $150,000 by the Enquirer to keep her mouth shut about the Trump affair, and is now suing to be released from that silence agreement.
According to New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow, in an interview with CNN on Thursday morning, the order to pay off the doorman about the Trump out-of-wedlock child rumor came straight from Pecker himself.
“This is about the most powerful people in the country having the ability to silence and change the news narrative at will,” Farrow said in the interview. “I think the public should know that.”
Farrow added that with the “doorman” payoff reporting following in the heels of the McDougal and Daniels payoffs, “this establishes a pattern now.”
Farrow, in his New Yorker article, wrote that he contacted the woman rumored to be Trump’s daughter, but “she declined through a representative of her employer to answer questions.” Farrow also said that the mother of the alleged Trump daughter refused comment.
“I spoke with the father of the family, who said that Sajudin’s claim was ‘completely false and ridiculous,'” Farrow continued, writing that the man complained “that the Enquirer had put the family in a difficult situation.”