Tabloid Publisher Lets Former Playboy Model Out Of Trump Affair Hush Contract

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

The publisher of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., agreed on Wednesday to let former Playboy model Karen McDougal out of a contract requiring her to stay silent about an alleged affair with President Donald Trump, the New York Times reported.

As part of a settlement reached between McDougal and AMI, McDougal’s lawyer Peter Stris told the Times, McDougal will keep the $150,000 she received as part of the original hush agreement and AMI has the right to $75,000 of future profits obtained from McDougal telling her story.

Stris called the agreement “a total win.”

“It’s one step at a time for me,” McDougal told the paper. “Today, I’m doing my victory dance.”

“AMI is pleased that we reached an amicable resolution with Karen today that provides both sides what they wanted as a result,” an unnamed spokesperson for the Enquirer told the Hollywood Reporter.

McDougal had signed what’s known in the tabloid industry as a “catch and kill” agreement: AMI, whose chief executive David Packer is a close friend of Trump’s, bought the rights to her story and then did not publish it. McDougal claimed in her lawsuit that she didn’t know that would happen, and also that Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, had been secretly invovled in the negotiations surrounding the non-disclosure agreement she signed.

“The purpose of our lawsuit is not to get out of a hush agreement,” Stris told CNN in March. “The purpose of our lawsuit is to get out of an agreement that has been used to silence Karen, and that transfers her life rights, the rights to her story, to a company that has absolutely no business profiting from or controlling that information.”

Earlier this month, AMI seemed ready to carry out a legal battle against McDougal, asking a judge to dismiss her suit. The documents related to the agreement and others like were reportedly part of federal investigators’ raids on Cohen’s home, office and hotel a week later.

McDougal was represented at the time she signed the agreement with AMI by the same attorney — Keith Davidson — as Stephanie Clifford when Clifford signed her non-disclosure agreement covering a separate alleged affair with Trump. Davidson also represented an unnamed woman who negotiated a settlement in late 2017 with the Trump fundraiser Eliot Broidy, himself represented by Cohen.

Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, sued Trump and Cohen for defamation after they implied she was lying about the affair. She’s also sued to be released from her contract, arguing that it’s invalid because Trump did not sign it.

This post has been updated.

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