The National Enquirer paid $150,000 to a former Playboy playmate for exclusive rights to her story about having an affair with Donald Trump, but it never published the story, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Karen McDougal, Playboy’s 1998 playmate of the year, claims to have had an affair with Trump from 2006 to 2007, while he was married to his current wife, Melania Trump, according to the report. American Media Inc., which owns The National Enquirer, confirmed the payment, but said it was for a column.
Trump is friends with the CEO of American Media Inc., David Pecker. Pecker and Trump’s relationship goes back to Pecker’s tenure at the helm of Hachette Filipacchi Magazines,which published a magazine called ‘Trump Style” that was distributed at Trump’s hotels.
As The Washington Posted noted in March, the Enquirer endorsed Trump, and pushed for him to run back in 2011. Trump has also written numerous columns for the tabloid.
During the Republican primary, the Enquirer published a number of stories about Trump’s opponents, accusing Dr. Ben Carson of leaving a sponge in a patient’s brain, and Ted Cruz’s father of being involved in President Kennedy’s assassination. Trump, meanwhile, has been spared as a target of the tabloid.
“In a written statement, the company said it wasn’t buying Ms. McDougal’s story for $150,000, but rather two years’ worth of her fitness columns and magazine covers as well as exclusive life rights to any relationship she has had with a then-married man,” the Journal reported. “‘AMI has not paid people to kill damaging stories about Mr. Trump,’ the statement said.”
A Trump campaign spokesperson told the Journal that the claims of the affair were “totally untrue.”