Karen McDougal Payoff: Feds Now Probing Michael Cohen Connection

NEW YORK CITY—Federal investigators who raided the offices of Donald Trump's personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen on Monday were looking for documents that could shed light on “hush money” payments made to Stormy Daniels, and to former Playboy Playmate of the Year Karen McDougal, according to information contained in the search warrants used to carry out the raids. 

Now, federal investigators are demanding more documents—records of any communications between Cohen and two top executives of the tabloid National Enquirer newspaper, NBC News is reporting on Thursday. 

Those two Enquirer executives are named as David Pecker, CEO of the Enquirer’s parent company American Media Inc., and Dylan Howard, the company’s “chief content officer.” American Media also owns several other supermarket tabloids including the Globe, National Examiner and US Weekly.

Though Cohen himself has acknowledged arranging the $130,000 payoff to Daniels, claiming that he did so out of his own personal funds, it was American Media Inc. who signed a non-disclosure agreement with McDougal, paying her $150,000 to keep quiet about her alleged sexual relationship with Trump. McDougal is now suing to be released from that “hush” agreement, as Daniels is suing to be released from hers.

On Thurdsday, both the Associated Press and New Yorker magazine online reported another payoff made by the Enquirer, apparently to squelch an embarrassing story about Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

According to those two reports, the Enquirer learned a doorman at one of Trump’s properties, the Trump World Tower skyscraper in Manhattan, knew of a “rumor” that Trump had fathered a “love child” with a woman who worked in the building. While the news outlets could not confirm the rumor, they did confirm that American Media Inc. paid $30,000 to the doorman to keep quiet about the supposed sixth Trump child.

In her lawsuit, McDougal alleges that her then-lawyer, Keith Davidson, “colluded” with Cohen to set up the $150,000 hush-money payoff to keep her silent about her affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007.

Cohen told the Associated Press, according to the AP report on Thursday, that he communicated with the Enquirer about the Trump “love child” story, but he denied knowing in advance about the payment to the doorman, Dino Sajudin. Cohen told the news service that he was simply acting as Trump’s spokesperson when he talked to the tabloid about the story.

But according to Thursday’s report, federal investigators appear to believe there may have been more to the story of Cohen’s contacts with the Enquirer on both the McDougal and “love child” stories.

American Media boss Pecker is a close friend of Trump, and The National Enquirer has frequently published sensational but largely unfounded stories attacking Trump’s perceived enemies, some of which may be seen by visiting this link.

Photo via CNN Screen Capture