Former Playboy model Karen McDougal, with whom President Donald Trump allegedly had an extramarital affair, filed a defamation suit against Fox News on Thursday over Fox host Tucker Carlson’s claims that she had extorted Trump.
Amid revelations in 2018 that ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had made hush payments to McDougal and former adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Trump, Carlson claimed the dealings were “extortion payments” and accused the two women of threatening to “ruin [Trump’s] career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money.”
“Now that sounds like a classic case of extortion,” the Fox host said, as cited in the court filing.
Carlson had made the comments after Cohen admitted in his guilty plea to carrying out the hush payments to protect Trump shortly before the 2016 election in violation of campaign finance laws. He told the court that he had done so “in coordination and at the direction of” Trump “for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election.”
Eric Bernstein, McDougal’s attorney, pointed to Cohen’s criminal case as evidence in the former model’s defamation suit on Thursday.
“Had Carlson done any investigation or responsible reporting or journalism, he would have easily discovered that what he and Fox News published about McDougal was and is demonstrably false,” Bernstein wrote in the complaint.
“Fox News will vigorously defend Tucker Carlson against these meritless claims,” a Fox News spokesperson said in response to the lawsuit.
Read the complaint below: