Michael Cohen testified Wednesday that the National Enquirer has collaborated with Donald Trump to purchase and not publish stories that would damage the President for at least 12 years.
“I was involved in several of these catch-and-kill episodes,” Cohen told the House Oversight Committee at his public hearing. “But these catch-and-kill scenarios existed between [National Enquirer publisher] David Pecker and Mr. Trump long before I started working for him in 2007.”
Cohen has pleaded guilty to working with Pecker and others at the Enquirer during the 2016 campaign to purchase the rights to the story of a Playboy model who claimed to have slept with Trump.
The Enquirer admitted to its role in the scheme as part of a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office.
Prosecutors are now examining if the publication violated that agreement in its efforts to publish the story of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ extramarital affair. Bezos has alleged that he was threatened with “extortion and blackmail” by the tabloid while the publication was trying to break the story of his relationship.