Feds Agreed Not To Pursue National Enquirer Parent Over Trump Hush Money

In this Jan. 31, 2014 photo David Pecker,  David Pecker, Chairman and CEO of American Media, addresses those attending the Shape & Men's Fitness Super Bowl Party in New York. The Aug. 21, 2018 plea deal reached by Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen has laid bare a relationship between the president and Pecker, whose company publishes the National Enquirer. Besides detailing tabloid’s involvement in payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal to keep quiet about alleged affairs with Trump, court papers showed how David Pecker, a longtime friend of the president, offered to help Trump stave off negative stories during the 2016 campaign. (AP Photo/Marion Curtis)
In this Jan. 31, 2014 photo, David Pecker, Chairman and CEO of American Media, addresses those attending the Shape & Men's Fitness Super Bowl Party in New York. The Aug. 21, 2018 plea deal reached by Donald Trump... In this Jan. 31, 2014 photo, David Pecker, Chairman and CEO of American Media, addresses those attending the Shape & Men's Fitness Super Bowl Party in New York. The Aug. 21, 2018 plea deal reached by Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen has laid bare a relationship between the president and Pecker, whose company publishes the National Enquirer. Besides detailing tabloid's involvement in payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal to keep quiet about alleged affairs with Trump, court papers showed how David Pecker, a longtime friend of the president, offered to help Trump stave off negative stories during the 2016 campaign. (Marion Curtis via AP) MORE LESS
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December 12, 2018 2:02 p.m.
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After Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced that prosecutors had previously reached an agreement not to prosecute the National Enquirer’s parent company over its payment to kill Karen McDougal’s story about her alleged affair with President Trump.

As part of the agreement, American Media, Inc., admitted that it paid McDougal $150,000 in an attempt to influence the 2016 election, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

“The Office also announced today that it has previously reached a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, in connection with AMI’s role in making the above-described $150,000 payment before the 2016 presidential election,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement on Cohen’s sentencing. “As a part of the agreement, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election. AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”

Cohen was sentenced Wednesday for several charges, including campaign finance violations due to his role in arranging payments to McDougal and Stormy Daniels.

In McDougal’s case, Cohen worked with David Pecker (pictured), a Trump ally and CEO of AMI, to pay McDougal for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump, though McDougal’s story about Trump was never published. Though Cohen initially planned to repay AMI for the catch-and-kill agreement, he never repaid the media company.

Read the full statement:

The Office also announced today that it has previously reached a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, in connection with AMI’s role in making the above-described $150,000 payment before the 2016 presidential election.  As a part of the agreement, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election.  AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.

Assuming AMI’s continued compliance with the agreement, the Office has agreed not to prosecute AMI for its role in that payment.  The agreement also acknowledges, among other things, AMI’s acceptance of responsibility, its substantial and important assistance in this investigation, and its agreement to provide cooperation in the future and implement specific improvements to its internal compliance to prevent future violations of the federal campaign finance laws.  These improvements include distributing written standards regarding federal election laws to its employees and conducting annual training concerning these standards.

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