The publisher of the National Enquirer, a Trump-friendly tabloid, paid a former Trump Tower doorman $30,000 in late 2015 for his story about a rumor that President Donald Trump had a child with a Trump Tower resident, according to new reports from the Associated Press and the New Yorker.
The former doorman, Dino Sajudin, signed an agreement similar to that signed by former Playboy model Karen McDougal barring him from going public with the rumor, and the publisher, American Media, Inc., never ran his story, according to the reports.
The agreement signed by Sajudin first became public on Wednesday when Radar Online, an AMI publication, acknowledged in an article that the publisher paid Sajudin $30,000 for his story during the 2016 campaign but that National Enquirer reporters determined that the rumor about Trump was not true.
The New Yorker was unable to verify that Sajudin’s story was accurate, and National Enquirer reporters who spoke to the New Yorker had doubts that the rumor was true. However, National Enquirer reporters who spoke with the New Yorker and the AP said that they were told to stop investigating the story abruptly before they had followed all leads. They said that AMI made a concerted effort to shut down the story, despite the publisher’s claim that they were simply unable to verify the rumors peddled by Sajudin.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney and fixer, acknowledged to the AP that he was in contact with AMI while they were talking to Sajudin about the rumor. He told the AP that he was only acting as a spokesman for Trump at the time, but AMI reporters told the New Yorker that Cohen received frequent updates on their work related to Sajudin.
The reports on AMI’s “catch and kill” agreement with Sajudin place Cohen near another hush agreement during the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen was reportedly in the loop on AMI’s agreement with Karen McDougal purchasing the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump, and he paid porn actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.
Federal investigators are looking into Cohen’s involvement in suppressing stories about Trump during the 2016 campaign. The FBI raided Cohen’s home, hotel room, and office on Monday, reportedly looking for documents on the McDougal and Daniels agreements, as well as information on the “Access Hollywood” tape that was released a month before the election.
The Associated Press has been working on the story about Sajudin’s rumor for a while. When the outlet began investigating the story in the summer of 2017, AMI threatened legal action against them, as both the AP and the New Yorker reported. The AP did not publish at the time.