National Enquirer Publisher Asks Court To Dismiss Karen McDougal Lawsuit

at Sagamore Hotel on February 6, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America

The publisher of the tabloid National Enquirer on Monday asked a California judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Playboy model Karen McDougal over the “catch and kill” contract she signed with the company.

McDougal sold the rights to her story about her alleged affair with President Donald Trump to American Media, Inc. (AMI), the parent company of National Enquirer, and signed a contract promising McDougal fitness columns in the publisher’s outlets and two covers featuring her. AMI and the Trump-friendly National Enquirer never ran McDougal’s story about Trump.

In her lawsuit against the publisher, McDougal demands to be released from the contract and claims that AMI secretly talked with longtime attorney to President Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, about the contract. She argued that AMI violated election law by purchasing the story and deciding not to publish it, and claimed that the publisher did not fulfill the contract’s obligations to publish her work.

In the motion to dismiss the case filed on Monday, lawyers for AMI argued that the First Amendment protects their right not to publish stories and their editorial decisions about other content featured in their publications. The publisher also argued that it did not violate any terms of the contract when it came to publishing work by McDougal.

When she signed the agreement with AMI, McDougal was represented by Keith Davidson, the same lawyer who represented porn actress Stormy Daniels in her nondisclosure agreement with Trump attorney Michael Cohen. Daniels has also filed a lawsuit over her hush agreement, arguing that the agreement is invalid because Trump did not sign it.

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