Karen McDougal, an ex-Playboy model, is now allowed to speak about her alleged affair with Trump. Previously, American Media Company paid McDougal $150,000 for the full rights to her story regarding an alleged affair. A.M.I. owns many well-known tabloids, including the National Enquirer, Star, and Us Weekly. However, after McDougal brought a lawsuit against A.M.I., the parties have reached a settlement that allows her to be free from her contract and speak out about her previous affair, according to the New York Times.
In 2016, A.M.I. bought the rights from McDougal to run the story about her affair with Trump but they never ran the story. They paid McDougal $150,000. This is close to the amount that Michael Cohen paid to Stormy Daniels to maintain her silence about her affair with Trump. Daniels was paid $130,000, and there is an ongoing litigation about the hush money. McDougal’s lawsuit claimed that the payment for the story was merely for the publication to own the rights in order to bury the bad publicity for Trump, who was campaigning for office at the time. Also worth noting is that the chairman of A.M.I. is David J. Pecker, who is known to be Trump’s friend.
The lawsuit that McDougal brought against A.M.I. claimed that she was misled when she signed the contract to sell her story, both by Pecker and Cohen. The details of how Cohen may have influenced McDougal is currently unknown, but the ongoing federal investigation into his business may shed light on the issue in the future. Not only that, the lawsuit claimed that there were secret talks between Cohen and McDougal’s then-lawyer, Keith Davidson.
Under the settlement terms, A.M.I. will receive up to $75,000 of any future profit from the story running, and McDougal is also keeping the $150,000. Both McDougal and A.M.I. are responsible for their own attorneys’ fees. Her lawyer, Peter K. Stris, was satisfied with the arrangement.
“It’s a total win…We got everything we were fighting for — she got out of the contract, gets the life rights back and owes A.M.I. nothing more.”
There is still an ongoing investigation by the Federal Election Commission because they claim that the payment that A.M.I. made to McDougal is an illegal campaign expenditure. A.M.I. has denied these claims, stating they are under protection under the First Amendment to run stories as they wish as a publisher.
In the meantime, A.M.I. plans to feature McDougal in a September 2018 issue of Men’s Journal and to publish five columns with her byline in the near future. McDougal is also satisfied with the outcome, saying she’s “relieved to be able to tell the truth about my story when asked.” The alleged affair lasted between 2006 and 2007, during which time they met at Trump properties, detailed the Washington Post.