Karen McDougal Settles Hush Deal Lawsuit, Saving Trump Headache

Karen McDougal, the 1998 Playboy magazine Playmate of the Year who alleges that she carried on a months-long sexual relationship with Donald Trump in 2006 and 2007, has settled a lawsuit over an agreement she signed during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, forcing her to keep quiet about the affair.

The New York Times reported the settlement in the lawsuit, which McDougal filed last month, in a story posted online Wednesday afternoon. In the article, the Times reports that while McDougal is now free to speak openly about what she says was her affair with Trump, the settlement also benefits Trump by keeping him out of yet another protracted court battle at a time when his legal troubles appear to be piling up.

While he continues to face the ongoing Russia collusion investigation, sources have told the media that Trump is even more worried about a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York into Trump's personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen—the man who reportedly has been the keeper of Trump’s most closely guarded secrets.

Trump, of course, also must deal with two lawsuits from AVN Hall of Fame star Stormy Daniels: one demanding that Daniels be freed from her own “hush agreement” which was arranged by Cohen with a $130,000 payoff, and a second claiming that Cohen defamed her by implying that she is lying about her own sexual encounter with Trump.

Trump faces a similar defamation suit from former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, who has accused Trump of sexually harassing her and says that Trump slandered her by calling her a “horrible, horrible liar” in a public speech.

But Trump will no longer have McDougal’s case to worry about after Wednesday. McDougal was actually suing American Media Incorporated, owners of The National Enquirer supermarket tabloid, owned by Trump’s close friend David Pecker, which paid her $150,000 in 2016 for the rights to her Trump affair story. But the Enquirer never ran her story, effectively preventing McDougal’s allegations from becoming an issue while Trump was running for president.

Under terms of the settlement, according to the Times report, McDougal may keep the $150,000 payment—though McDougal says that her then-lawyer Keith Davidson kept half of that money

But she must pay the Enquirer up to $75,000 of any profits she makes from marketing her story of the affair, according to the Times.

McDougal’s lawsuit also alleged that Trump’s fixer Cohen conspired with her own attorney, Davidson, to trick her into signing the deal with the Enquirer. The Times report noted that American Media Inc., had vowed to fight McDougal’s lawsuit, but appeared to quickly backtrack and reach a settlement following FBI raids on April 9 at Cohen’s office, residence and hotel room.

The federal agents reportedly seized documents relating to the payoffs made to McDougal as well as to Daniels in those raids. 

Photo by Sam Posten III/Wikimedia Commons