Donald Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, convinced a magazine to “kill” a story about an alleged affair between Donald Trump Jr. and a former contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, unnamed sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
Back in 2013, celebrity gossip magazine Us Weekly was preparing to run a story on an alleged affair between Trump and former Celebrity Apprentice contestant Aubrey O’Day, of the singing group Dumblonde. The magazine had received an anonymous tip about the story and believed that it was solid.
At this point, it bears noting that Us Weekly, like other celebrity gossip magazines, relies on tips from readers for stories. Some similar magazines do a less-than-thorough job validating those tips. Us Weekly, however, is generally on the side of truth, according to Gawker: 35 percent of its cover stories and 59 percent of the unconfirmed reports it published over a few months in 2010 turned out to be true, on further investigation. In the celebrity gossip industry, that’s a pretty solid average, according to Gawker.
The Us Weekly team called the Trump organization for comment on the O’Day affair lead. As the team gathered around the speakerphone to hear what the organization’s representative had to say, they got an earful — and then some — from Trump attorney Michael Cohen, says the source.
“We were all on speakerphone and huddled around the phone. He was just one of these New York characters where he was just like swearing at us and totally over-the-top threatening.”
So irate and loud was Cohen that at one point the team had to mute the speakerphone.
Specifically, Cohen threatened unspecified “legal action” against the magazine if they published the story.
However, the team decided that the story wasn’t big enough to risk a protracted and costly legal fight. Further, the magazine had cultivated good relationships with Donald Jr.’s father, at the time relying on cooperation from him for stories about the Apprentice franchise. The magazine didn’t want to risk losing that relationship, so they dropped the story.
As it turns out, the story of the alleged affair would break again, around five years later, when Page Six picked it up, according to Yahoo News. However, Cohen’s alleged involvement in the story was not reported by Page Six; indeed, that aspect of the story was not broken until Sunday’s Wall Street Journal report.
Three days before Page Six ran the story of the alleged O’Day affair, Trump Jr.’s wife, Vanessa Trump, filed for divorce.